Song 296: "Milonga del solitario" - Atahualpa Yupanqui

Me gusta, de vez en cuando,
perderme en un bordoneo,
porque bordoneando veo
que ni yo mismo me mando.

Las cuerdas van ordenando
los rumbos del pensamiento,
y en el trotecito lento
de una milonga campera,
va saliendo campo ajuera
lo mejor del sentimiento.

Ninguno debe pensar,
que vengo en son de revancha.
No es mi culpa si en la cancha,
tengo con qué galopear.

El que me quiera ganar,
hai' tener buen parejero.
Yo me quitaré el sombrero,
porque así me han enseñao,
y me doy por bien pagao
dentrando detrás del primero.

Siempre bajito he cantao,
porque gritando no me hallo.
Grito al montar a caballo,
si en la caña me he bandeao.

Pero tratando un versiao,
ande se cuenten quebrantos,
apenas mi voz levanto
para cantar despacito.
Que el que se larga a los gritos,
no escucha su propio canto.

Si la muerte traicionera,
me acogota a su palenque,
háganme con dos rebenques,
la cruz pa' mi cabecera.
Si muero en mi madriguera,
mirando los horizontes,
no quiero cruces ni aprontes,
ni encargos para el Eterno.
Tal vez pasando el invierno,
me de sus flores el monte.

Toda la noche he cantau,
con el alma estremecida,
que el canto es la abierta herida,
de un sentimiento sagrau.
A naides tengo a mi lau,
porque no busco piedad.
Desprecio la caridad,
por la vergüenza que encierra.
Soy como el león de las sierras:
¡vivo y muero en soledad!

I like, from time to time,
to lose myself in a guitar song,*
because playing I see,
that not I even can control myself.

The chords organise
the routes of thought,
and with a light trot
of a rural dance,**
out into the fields are headed
the best of all emotions.

No one should think
that I come with vengeful thoughts.
It is not my fault if on the playing field
I have something which I can gallop with.

Whomever wants to beat me
will need a good partner.
I will take off my hat,
because that is how I have been taught,
and I consider myself well paid
if I place behind first place.

I have always sung quietly,
because I do not find myself shouting.
I shout when I mount on horseback,
if I have to find my way through the sugar cane.

But I trying a verse
where losses are told,
I barely raise my voice
to sing slowly.
Because those who start shouting,
do not listen to their own song.

If traitorous death
ties me to his hitching post,
make for me with two riding crops
the cross for my gravestone.
If I die in my burrow,
looking to the horizons,
I do not want crosses nor trappings***,
nor any favours to ask of the Eternal.
Perhaps by passing through the winter,
I will receive flowers from the mountain.

All the night I have sung
with a shuddering soul,
because a song is an open wound,
of a holy sentiment.
I have nobody by my side,
because I am not looking for pity.
I dislike charity,
because of the shame it bears along with it.
I am like the lion from the sierras:
I live and die in solitude!

*A bordoneo is any song involving drumming on an acoustic guitar’s wooden frame.

**A milonga itself is not necessarily rural, but is a generally common dance in the River Plate area, and is accompanied by music in 2/4 time.

***The correct translation would be something along the lines of ‘household goods’, akin to what people were buried with in pagan cultures (items for the next life), as aprontes are basically what would be found on a wedding registry (homemaking items).