When Death my Way Comes, Translation of Carlos Bousono’s sonnet : Cuando yo vaya a morir
( I prefer the reversal in my rendering of the title for it highlights the inevitability of the moment. I have also not vainly tried to stick to the end-rhyme scheme : abba/abba/aca/cac/ since in Spanish - likewise in Malay – the terminations of substantives and conjugations of verbs proliferate in « a », that is, vowels. The English language doesn’t quite offer the poet such facility in rhyming. T. Wignesan)
This skin, this flower, this sapphire
these eyes, what’ll they end up as afterwards.
I would have loved you to be a moon which rides
in the calm of an eternally-swishing whirl.
I would have wished to eternalise you when I espied
slight furrows your sweet face drown :
To breathe life into you, that in your entirety you’ll live on
Even when you hear Death calling in my sigh.
I would therefore that you keep close,
so that I might touch you for a fleeting moment :
and know that you are safe, erect, whole.
As with the oak tree to bend the wind wouldn’t dare.
As with the spring – the pennant.
As with the evening in its frivolous wear.
© T. Wignesan – Paris, 2013