Saturday, December 18, 2010

Songs for Advent and Christmas 7: Canción de Navidad - Silvio Rodriguez

This song by Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodriguez highlights the social inequality that becomes even more apparent at Christmas. He sings to those who are forgotten, those who eke out a living begging in the doorways, those, as Rodriguez says, "to whom no one has sung."



El fin de año huele a compras,
enhorabuenas y postales
con votos de renovación;
y yo que sé del otro mundo
que pide vida en los portales,
me doy a hacer una canción.
La gente luce estar de acuerdo,
maravillosamente todo
parece afín al celebrar.
Unos festejan sus millones,
otros la camisita limpia
y hay quien no sabe qué es brindar.


The end of the year smells of shopping,
greetings and cards
with vows of renewal;
and I who know of a different world
that begs its livelihood in doorways,
I set to write a song.
People appear to be as one,
amazingly everyone
seems akin in celebration.
Some drink to their millions,
others, to a clean shirt,
and some don't know what toasting is.

Mi canción no es del cielo,
las estrellas, la luna,
porque a ti te la entrego,
que no tienes ninguna.


My song is not about the sky,
the stars, the moon,
because I'm giving it to you,
who has none of them.

Mi canción no es tan sólo
de quien pueda escucharla,
porque a veces el sordo
lleva más para amarla.


My song is not just for
those who can hear it,
because sometimes the deaf
are better able to love it.

Tener no es signo de malvado
y no tener tampoco es prueba
de que acompañe la virtud;
pero el que nace bien parado,
en procurarse lo que anhela
no tiene que invertir salud.


To have is not a sign of sin,
nor is having nothing
proof of virtue;
but the one who is well born,
doesn't have to spend his health
in getting what he yearns for.

Por eso canto a quien no escucha,
a quien no dejan escucharme,
a quien ya nunca me escuchó,
al que su cotidiana lucha
me da razones para amarle,
a aquel que nadie le cantó.


Therefore I sing to the one who doesn't listen,
the one who is not allowed to listen to me,
the one who hasn't heard me yet,
to the one whose daily struggle
gives me reason to love him,
to the one to whom no one has sung.

Mi canción no es del cielo,
las estrellas, la luna,
porque a ti te la entrego,
que no tienes ninguna.


My song is not about the sky,
the stars, the moon,
because I'm giving it to you,
who has none of them.

Mi canción no es tan sólo
de quien pueda escucharla,
porque a veces el sordo
lleva más para amarla.


My song is not just for
those who can hear it,
because sometimes the deaf
are better able to love it.

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