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Gentleman Alone

Pablo Neruda

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Mike Topp's status
Added by: WOTAN
Regarding Mike Topp's translation of Neruda's "Gentleman alone," IS Mike Topp a "gentleman alone" or isn't he? THAT is the question. Also, when did he learn to speak Spanish and why isn't he translating Lorca in that case?
More on Mike Topp / proper title of original?
Added by: Prentiss Riddle
I don't understand "Wotan"'s comments on translator Mike Topp, but for those wanting to know more about him, here another copy of this translation with links at the bottom to several of Topp's own poetic works.

Suggestion: It would be helpful if translations which appear on this site would include a proper citation or at least the title of the original. A friend is looking for it and it's proving harder than one might expect to work backward from the translation alone.
The URL of those Mike Topp links
Added by: Prentiss Riddle
Well, drat -- the plagiarist.com comment system stripped out the links from my previous post. Here's the URL of the page with the Mike Topp links at the bottom:

Added by: Lovesick
This one makes me want to make love like a TIGER, but unfortunately, I can't, because my husband's away on business for another week and my boyfriend's a DOPE!
The Translation
Added by: Adam
I would have to agree with the comments on the translation. It is flawed to the point where it loses much of it's meaning. (some parts not even translated at all.) Even the site where this english version was obtained mentions the imperfect translation. If this is actually read my anyone at the plagiarist staff, please put, if not the origional work, then at least the untranslated title on the side. not doing so is unjust to the writer.

Si Neruda hubiera leido este version habria dado vueltos en la tumba.
Imperfect Translation
Added by: Bethsaida
The english translation of "Caballero solo" stray away from the Spanish mannerism of the original work. Thus, losing its natural meaning. It does not grasp the context in which Neruda wrote the poem.
Residencia en la Tierra (1925-1932):
Libro 1
Parte III


Los jóvenes homosexuales y las muchachas amorosas,
y las largas viudas que sufren el delirante insomnio,
y las jóvenes señoras preñadas hace treinta horas,
y los roncos gatos que cruzan mi jardín en tinieblas,
como un collar de palpitantes ostras sexuales
rodean mi residencia solitaria,
como enemigos establecidos contra mi alma,
como conspiradores en traje de dormitorio
que cambiaran largos besos espesos por consigna.
El radiante verano conduce a los enamorados
en uniformes regimientos melancólicos,
hechos de gordas y flacas y alegres y tristes parejas:
bajo los elegantes cocoteros, junto al océano y la luna,
hay una continua vida de pantalones y polleras,
un rumor de medias de seda acariciadas,
y senos femeninos que brillan como ojos.

El pequeño empleado, después de mucho,
después del tedio semanal, y las novelas leídas de noche en cama
ha definitivamente seducido a su vecina,
y la lleva a los miserables cinematógrafos
donde los héroes son potros o príncipes apasionados,
y acaricia sus piernas llenas de dulce vello
con sus ardientes y húmedas manos que huelen a cigarrillo.

Los atardeceres del seductor y las noches de los esposos
se unen como dos sábanas sepultándome,
y las horas después del almuerzo en que los jóvenes estudiantes
y las jóvenes estudiantes, y los sacerdotes se masturban,
y los animales fornican directamente,
y las abejas huelen a sangre, y las moscas zumban coléricas,
y los primos juegan extrañamente con sus primas,
y los médicos miran con furia al marido de la joven paciente,
y las horas de la mañana en que el profesor, como descuido,
cumple con su deber conyugal y desayuña,
y más aún, los adúlteros, que se aman con verdadero amor
sobre lechos altos y largos como embarcaciones:
seguramente, eternamente me rodea
este gran bosque respiratorio y enredado
con grandes flores como bocas y dentaduras
y negras raíces en forma de uñas y zapatos.

Another Translation
Added by: Gary Hilton
I'd like to add my interpretation, as below, and would be grateful for any comments.


The gay young blades and amorous nymphets,
and long-frenzying widows of insomnious plight,
and the glowing girls, thirty hours pregnant,
and miaowed-out toms on my grounds at night:
like a ring of oysters on heat
they surround my solitary home;
like contrariants against my soul,
like conspirators dressed for bed,
trading long, wet kisses for code-words.
The radiant summer leads to lovers
in tediously tristful ranks
formed of fat and thin and sad and joyful pairs,
under elegant palms, by the ocean, beneath the moon:
an endless romp of skirts and pants,
a whisper of stocking silk caressed,
and ladies’ breasts that glisten like eyes.

The lowly employee, after so much,
after the week’s drudgery, and reading novels in bed
has no doubt seduced his neighbour, à la mode,
and taken her to the godawful movies
where the hero’s a colt or a prince,
and stroked the soft down of her sweet legs
with ardent, clammy hands smelling of cigs.

Seducers’ evenings and husbands’ nights
knit like twin sheets to swathe round me,
and the after-lunch hours when freshmen and
freshgirls and priests make love by hand,
and the animals breed without ado,
and bees smell of blood, and flies hum, testily,
and cousins play, estrangedly, with cousins,
and doctors fume at the husband of the stricken girl;
and the morning hours when the professor, how negligent,
blends breakfast with conjugal duties,
and worse still, the adulterers that love with true love
on beds, long and high, like cruise boats:
assuredly, eternally it surrounds me
this great jungle, branching and breathing
with massive flowers like mouths and teeth
and black roots like toenails and shoes.

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