viernes, 22 de noviembre de 2013

Banana Republic

Title:     The Admiral
Author: O Henry [More Titles by Henry]

Spilled milk draws few tears from an Anchurian administration. Many are its lacteal sources; and the clocks' hands point forever to milking time. Even the rich cream skimmed from the treasury by the bewitched Miraflores did not cause the newly installed patriots to waste time in unprofitable regrets. The government philosophically set about supplying the deficiency by increasing the import duties and by "suggesting" to wealthy private citizens that contributions according to their means would be considered patriotic and in order. Prosperity was expected to attend the reign of Losada, the new president. The ousted office-holders and military favorites organized a new "Liberal" party, and began to lay their plans for a re-succession. Thus the game of Anchurian politics began, like a Chinese comedy, to unwind slowly its serial length. Here and there Mirth peeps for an instant from the wings and illumines the florid lines.

A dozen quarts of champagne in conjunction with an informal sitting of the president and his cabinet led to the establishment of the navy and the appointment of Felipe Carrera as its admiral.

Next to the champagne the credit of the appointment belongs to Don Sabas Placido, the newly confirmed Minister of War.

The president had requested a convention of his cabinet for the discussion of questions politic and for the transaction of certain routine matters of state. The session had been signally tedious; the business and the wine prodigiously dry. A sudden, prankish humor of Don Sabas, impelling him to the deed, spiced the grave affairs of state with a whiff of agreeable playfulness. In the dilatory order of business had come a bulletin from the coast department of Orilla del Mar reporting the seizure by the custom-house officers at the town of Coralio of the sloop ~Estrella del Noche~ and her cargo of drygoods, patent medicines, granulated sugar and three-star brandy. Also six Martini rifles and a barrel of American whiskey. Caught in the act of smuggling, the sloop with its cargo was now, according to law, the property of the republic.

The Collector of Customs, in making his report, departed from the conventional forms so far as to suggest that the confiscated vessel be converted to the use of the government. The prize was the first capture to the credit of the department in ten years. The collector took opportunity to pat his department on the back.

It often happened that government officers required transportation from point to point along the coast, and means were usually lacking. Furthermore, the sloop could be manned by a loyal crew and employed as a coast guard to discourage the pernicious art of smuggling. The collector also ventured to nominate one to whom the charge of the boat could be safely intrusted--a young man of Coralio, Felipe Carrera-- not, be it understood, one of extreme wisdom, but loyal and the best sailor along the coast.

It was upon this hint that the Minister of War acted, executing a rare piece of drollery that so enlivened the tedium of the executive session.

In the consultation of this small, maritime banana republic was a forgotten section that provided for the maintenance of a navy. This provision--with many other wiser ones--had lain inert since the establishment of the republic. Anchuria had no navy and had no use for one. It was characteristic of Don Sabas—a man at once merry, learned, whimsical and audacious--that he should have disturbed the dust of this musty and sleeping statute to increase the humor of the world by so much as a smile from his indulgent colleagues.

With delightful mock seriousness the Minister of War proposed the creation of a navy. He argued its need and the glories it might achieve with such gay and witty zeal that the travesty overcame with its humor even the swart dignity of President Losada himself.

The champagne was bubbling trickily in the veins of the mercurial statesmen. It was not the custom of the grave governors of Anchuria to enliven their sessions with a beverage so apt to cast a veil of disparagement over sober affairs. The wine had been a thoughtful compliment tendered by the agent of the Vesuvius Fruit Company as a token of amicable relations--and certain consummated deals--between that company and the republic of Anchuria.

The jest was carried to its end. A formidable, official document was prepared, encrusted with chromatic seals and jaunty with fluttering ribbons, bearing the florid signatures of state. This commission conferred upon el Senor Don Felipe Carrera the title of Flag Admiral of the Republic of Anchuria. Thus within the space of a few minutes and the dominion of a dozen "extra dry" the country took its place among the naval powers of the world, and Felipe Carrera became entitled to a salute of nineteen guns whenever he might enter port.

The southern races are lacking in that particular kind of humor that finds entertainment in the defects and misfortunes bestowed by Nature. Owing to this defect in their constitution they are not moved to laughter (as are their northern brothers) by the spectacle of the deformed, the feeble-minded or the insane.

Felipe Carrera was sent upon earth with but half his wits. Therefore, the people of Coralio called him "~El pobrecito loco~" the poor little crazed one"--saying that God had sent but half of him to earth, retaining the other half.

A sombre youth, glowering, and speaking only at the rarest times, Felipe was but negatively "loco." On shore he generally refused all conversation. He seemed to know that he was badly handicapped on land, where so many kinds of understanding are needed; but on the water his one talent set him equal with most men. Few sailors whom God had carefully and completely made could handle a sailboat as well. Five points nearer the wind than the best of them he could sail his sloop. When the elements raged and set other men to cowering, the deficiencies of Felipe seemed of little importance. He was a perfect sailor, if an imperfect man. He owned no boat, but worked among the crews of the schooners and sloops that skimmed the coast, trading and freighting fruit out to the steamers where there was no harbor. It was through his famous skill and boldness on the sea, as well as for the pity felt for his mental imperfections, that he was recommended by the collector as a suitable custodian of the captured sloop.

When the outcome of Don Sabas' little pleasantry arrived in the form of the imposing and preposterous commission, the collector smiled. He had not expected such prompt and overwhelming response to his recommendation. He despatched a ~muchacho~ at once to fetch the future admiral.

The collector waited in his official quarters. His office was in the Calle Grande, and the sea breezes hummed through its windows all day. The collector, in white linen and canvas shoes, philandered with papers on an antique desk. A parrot, perched on a pen rack, seasoned the official tedium with a fire of choice Castilian imprecations. Two rooms opened into the Collector's. In one the clerical force of young men of variegated complexions transacted with glitter and parade their several duties. Through the open door of the other room could be seen a bronze babe, guiltless of clothing, that rollicked upon the floor. In a grass hammock a thin woman, tinted a pale lemon, played a guitar and swung contentedly in the breeze. Thus surrounded by the routine of his high duties and the visible tokens of agreeable domesticity, the collector's heart was further made happy by the power placed in his hands to brighten the fortunes of the "innocent" Felipe.

Felipe came and stood before the collector. He was a lad of twenty, not ill-favored in looks, but with an expression of distant and pondering vacuity. He wore white cotton trousers, down the seams of which he had sewed red stripes with some vague aim at military decoration. A flimsy blue shirt fell open at his throat; his feet were bare; he held in his hand the cheapest of straw hats from the States.

"Senor Carrera," said the collector, gravely, producing the showy commission, "I have sent for you at the president's bidding. This document that I present to you confers upon you the title of Admiral of this great republic, and gives you absolute command of the naval forces and fleet of our country. You may think, friend Felipe, that we have no navy--but yes! The sloop the ~Estrella del Noche~, that my brave men captured from the coast smugglers, is to be placed under your command. The boat is to be devoted to the services of your country. You will be ready at all times to convey officials of the government to points along the coast where they may be obliged to visit. You will also act as a coast-guard to prevent, as far as you may be able, the crime of smuggling. You will uphold the honor and prestige of your country at sea, and endeavor to place Anchuria among the proudest naval powers of the world. These are your instructions as the Minister of War desires me to convey them to you. ~Por Dios!~ I do not know how all this is to be accomplished, for not one word did his letter contain in respect to a crew or to the expenses of this navy. Perhaps you are to provide a crew yourself, Senor Admiral--I do not know--but it is a very high honor that has descended upon you. I now hand you your commission. When you are ready for the boat I will give orders that she shall be made over into your charge. That is as far as my instructions go."

Felipe took the commission that the collector handed to him. He gazed through the open window at the sea for a moment, with his customary expression of deep but vain pondering. Then he turned without having spoken a word, and walked swiftly away through the hot sand of the street.

"~Pobrecito loco!~" sighed the collector; and the parrot on the pen racks screeched "Loco!—loco!—loco!"

The next morning a strange procession filed through the streets to the collector's office. At its head was the admiral of the navy. Somewhere Felipe had raked together a pitiful semblance of a military uniform--a pair of red trousers, a dingy blue short jacket heavily ornamented with gold braid, and an old fatigue cap that must have been cast away by one of the British soldiers in Belize and brought away by Felipe on one of his coasting voyages. Buckled around his waist was an ancient ship's cutlass contributed to his equipment by Pedro Lafitte, the baker, who proudly asserted its inheritance from his ancestor, the illustrious buccaneer. At the admiral's heels tagged his newly shipped crew--three grinning, glossy, black Caribs, bare to the waist, the sand spurting in showers from the spring of their naked feet.

Briefly and with dignity Felipe demanded his vessel of the collector. And now a fresh honor awaited him. The collector's wife, who played the guitar and read novels in the hammock all day, had more than a little romance in her placid, yellow bosom. She had found in an old book an engraving of a flag that purported to be the naval flag of Anchuria. Perhaps it had so been designed by the founders of the nation; but, as no navy had ever been established, oblivion had claimed the flag. Laboriously with her own hands she had made a flag after the pattern--a red cross upon a blue-and-white ground. he presented it to Felipe with these words: "Brave sailor, this flag is of your country. Be true, and defend it with your life. Go you with God."

For the first time since his appointment the admiral showed a flicker of emotion. He took the silken emblem, and passed his hand reverently over its surface, "I am the admiral," he said to the collector's lady. Being on land he could bring himself to no more exuberant expression of sentiment. At sea with the flag at the masthead of his navy, some more eloquent exposition of feelings might be forthcoming.

Abruptly the admiral departed with his crew. For the next three days they were busy giving the ~Estrella del Noche~ a new coat of white paint trimmed with blue. And then Felipe further adorned himself by fastening a handful of brilliant parrot's plumes in his cap. Again he tramped with his faithful crew to the collector's office and formally notified him that the sloop's name had been changed to ~El Nacional~.

During the next few months the navy had its troubles. Even an admiral is perplexed to know what to do without any orders. But none came. Neither did any salaries. ~El Nacional~ swung idly at anchor.

When Felipe's little store of money was exhausted he went to the collector and raised the question of finances.

"Salaries!" exclaimed the collector, with hands raised; "~Valgame Dios~! not one ~centavo~ of my own pay have I received for the last seven months. The pay of an admiral, do you ask? ~Quien sabe~? Should it be less than three thousand ~pesos~? ~Mira~! you will see a revolution in this country very soon. A good sign of it is when the government calls all the time for ~pesos, pesos, pesos~, and pays none out."

Felipe left the collector's office with a look almost of content on his sombre face. A revolution would mean fighting, and then the government would need his services. It was rather humiliating to be an admiral without anything to do, and have a hungry crew at your heels begging for ~reales~ to buy plantains and tobacco with.

When he returned to where his happy-go-lucky Caribs were waiting they sprang up and saluted, as he had drilled them to do. "Come, ~muchachos~," said the admiral; "it seems that the government is poor. It has no money to give us. We will earn what we need to live upon. Thus will we serve our country. Soon"--his heavy eyes almost lighted up--"it may gladly call upon us for help."

Thereafter ~El Nacional~ turned out with the other coast craft and became a wage-earner. She worked with the lighters freighting bananas and oranges out to the fruit steamers that could not approach nearer than a mile from the shore. Surely a self-supporting navy deserves red letters in the budget of any nation.

After earning enough at freighting to keep himself and his crew in provisions for a week Felipe would anchor the navy and hang about the little telegraph office, looking like one of the chorus of an insolvent comic opera troupe besieging the manager's den. A hope for orders from the capital was always in his heart. That his services as admiral had never been called into requirement hurt his pride and patriotism. At every call he would inquire, gravely and expectantly, for despatches. The operator would pretend to make a search, and then reply:

"Not yet, it seems, ~Senor el Almirante--poco tiempo~!"

Outside in the shade of the lime-trees the crew chewed sugar cane or slumbered, well content to serve a country that was contented with so little service.

One day in the early summer the revolution predicted by the collector flamed out suddenly. It had long been smoldering. At the first note of alarm the admiral of the navy force and fleet made all sail for a larger port on the coast of a neighboring republic, where he traded a hastily collected cargo of fruit for its value in cartridges for the five Martini rifles, the only guns that the navy could boast. Then to the telegraph office sped the admiral. Sprawling in his favorite corner, in his fast-decaying uniform, with his prodigious sabre distributed between his red legs, he waited for the long-delayed, but now soon expected, orders.

"Not yet, ~Senor el Almirante~" the telegraph clerk would call to him --"~poco tiempo~!"

At the answer the admiral would plump himself down with a great rattling of scabbard to await the infrequent tick of the little instrument on the table.

"They will come," would be his unshaken reply; "I am the admiral."

[William Sydney Porter] O Henry's short story: The Admiral

Source: -->

jueves, 25 de abril de 2013

Martin Niemöller

Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Kommunist.

Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.

Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,
habe ich nicht protestiert;
ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.

Als sie die Juden holten,
habe ich nicht protestiert;
ich war ja kein Jude.

Als sie mich holten,
gab es keinen mehr, der protestieren konnte.
Cuando los nazis se llevaron a los comunistas,
me quedé en silencio,
yo no era comunista,

Cuando encarcelaron a los socialdemócratas,
me quedé en silencio,
yo no era socialdemócrata,

Cuando vinieron por los sindicalistas,
no protesté,
yo no era sindicalista,

Cuando se llevaron a los judíos,
no protesté,
yo no era judío,

Cuando vinieron a buscarme,
no había nadie más que pudiera protestar.

Martin Niemöller

miércoles, 24 de abril de 2013


14 1 »Euer Herz erschrecke nicht! Vertrauet auf Gott und vertrauet auf mich!

2 In meines Vaters Hause sind viele Wohnungen; wenn es nicht so wäre, hätte ich es euch gesagt; denn ich gehe hin, euch eine Stätte zu bereiten;

3 und wenn ich hingegangen bin und euch eine Stätte bereitet habe, komme ich wieder und werde euch zu mir nehmen, damit da, wo ich bin, auch ihr seid.

4 Und wohin ich gehe – den Weg dahin kennt ihr.«

5 Da sagte Thomas zu ihm: »Herr, wir wissen nicht, wohin du gehst: wie sollten wir da den Weg kennen?«

6 Jesus antwortete ihm: »Ich bin der Weg und die Wahrheit und das Leben; niemand kommt zum Vater außer durch mich.

7 Wenn ihr mich erkannt hättet, würdet ihr auch meinen Vater kennen; von jetzt an kennt ihr ihn und habt ihn gesehen.«

Nichts geht verloren

In der Schule lernten wir
dass Wärme und Energie
nicht verloren gehen. Der Lehrer
hat uns nicht belogen. Es ist
ein physikalisches Gesetz
und ein philosophisches
Jede brüderliche Geste, jedes Lächeln
bleibt in der Welt

Lotte in Paris, die das Kind
der Exilierten aufnahm
und dem Studenten aus Deutschland
heimlich Geld zusteckte, lebt weiter
in der Erinnerung der Beschenkten
Und weiter lebt ihre Freundlichkeit
weitergereicht an andere
die sie nicht kannten

Nicht nur empfangene Schläge werden
weitergegeben durch Generationen
von den Eltern an die Kinder
vom Schwachen an den noch Schwächeren
Auch Liebe und Freundschaft
verführen zur Nachahmung
Nichts ist vergeblich, nichts geht verloren
Kein Lächeln, kein Händedruck, keine Umarmung
Auch die guten Taten, zum Glück
pflanzen sich fort

Gerhard Schoenberner

Gerhard Schoenberner

Immer wieder
steht der Mensch auf
erhebt sich
wird niedergeschlagen
erhebt sich wieder
Für jeden Toten
tritt ein Lebender
an seine Stelle
Man kann nicht
alle erschießen

Lob der Veränderung

Für Volker Braun 

Tag und Nacht
Sommer und Winter
haben ihr Gesetz
und ihre Schönheit
Schöner noch sind
die Übergänge, die Zeiten
des Wechsels, der Veränderung
des Lichts, der Jahreszeiten
Und der Verhältnisse
Das Versprechen des frühen Morgens
die Süße des Frühlings
und der beginnenden Liebe
Die Abenddämmerung
das Abschiedslicht des Herbstes
letztes Aufleuchten
bevor die Dunkelheit kommt
Der Augenblick des Verlöschens
die Auflösung des Bestehenden
vor der Ankunft des Neuen
Nie eingelöste Hoffnung

Gerhard Schoenberner

martes, 23 de abril de 2013

Créole haïtien

Mas allá del drama humanitario de Haití, me parece interesante el texto de este reclamo:
Traducido por Amnesty como "Querido Estado, las ratas se comen los pies de nuestros hijos, la lluvia nos moja, el sol nos abrasa"
"Leta cheri,
rat ap manje
pye ti moun-yo,
la pli ap mouye yo,
soley ap boule yo
kay artik 22"
Como para empezar a buscar en: con la ayuda de
Muy interesante!

Algunas características según Wikipedia:

* Los verbos no se declinan según tiempo ni persona.
* Carece de género gramatical, es decir, los adjetivos no se declinan para concordar en género con el sustantivo al que califican.
* Uso de sufijos de persona para indicar posesión de los sustantivos.
* Uso de modificadores o auxiliares para indicar todos los tiempos verbales.

"leta": estado
"cheri": querido
"rat": rata
El verbo mismo no se conjuga en criollo haitiano. Se utilizan "marcadores de tiempo", por ej. "ap": presente progresivo
"manje": comer
"ap manje": esta comiendo
"pye": pie
"ti": pequeño
"moun": persona
"yo" es el artículo plural ("yo" indica simplemente que el sustantivo es plural).
"moun-yo": personas
"ti moun-yo": niños
"la" artículo definido (normalmente va detrás del sustantivo)
Si el último sonido del sustantivo es una consonante no nasal, el artículo será "la"
"pli": lluvia
En este caso se invierte por lo que supongo será el adverbio "aquí / acá"
"mouye": mojar
"yo": forma plena del pronombre en tercera persona del plural. El verbo mismo no se conjuga en criollo haitiano, por lo que no puede ser el plural aplicado al verbo.
"la pli mouye yo": tal vez diga "aquí la lluvia los moja"
"soley": sol
"boule": quemar (inglés: "burn")
"soley ap boule yo": el sol los está quemando (abrasando)
"kay": casa
"artik": artículo

Recién me zambullí en el créole haïtien. Sinceramente, me parece un idioma muy interesante.

viernes, 15 de marzo de 2013

La última curda

La última curda
Tango 1956
Música: Aníbal Troilo
Letra: Cátulo Castillo

Lastima, bandoneón,
mi corazon
tu ronca maldición maleva...
Tu lágrima de ron
me lleva
hasta el hondo bajo fondo
donde el barro se subleva.
¡Ya sé, no me digás! ¡Tenés razón!
La vida es una herida absurda,
y es todo tan fugaz
que es una curda, ¡nada más!
mi confesión.

Contame tu condena,
decime tu fracaso,
¿no ves la pena
que me ha herido?
Y hablame simplemente
de aquel amor ausente
tras un retazo del olvido.
¡Ya sé que te lastimo!
¡Ya se que te hago daño
llorando mi sermón de vino!

Pero es el viejo amor
que tiembla, bandoneón,
y busca en el licor que aturde,
la curda que al final
termine la función
corriéndole un telón al corazón.
Un poco de recuerdo y sinsabor
gotea tu rezongo lerdo.
Marea tu licor y arrea
la tropilla de la zurda
al volcar la última curda.
Cerrame el ventanal
que arrastra el sol
su lento caracol de sueño,
¿no ves que vengo de un país
que está de olvido, siempre gris,
tras el alcohol?...


Tango 1921
Música: José Ricardo / Carlos Gardel
Letra: Celedonio Flores

Se te embroca desde lejos, pelandruna abacanada,
que has nacido en la miseria de un convento de arrabal...
Porque hay algo que te vende, yo no sé si es la mirada,
la manera de sentarte, de mirar, de estar parada
o ese cuerpo acostumbrado a las pilchas de percal.
Ese cuerpo que hoy te marca los compases tentadores
del canyengue de algún tango en los brazos de algún gil,
mientras triunfa tu silueta y tu traje de colores,
entre el humo de los puros y el champán de Armenonville.

Son macanas, no fue un guapo haragán ni prepotente
ni un cafisho de averías el que al vicio te largó...
Vos rodaste por tu culpa y no fue inocentemente...
¡berretines de bacana que tenías en la mente
desde el día que un magnate cajetilla te afiló!

Yo recuerdo, no tenías casi nada que ponerte,
hoy usas ajuar de seda con rositas rococó,
¡me reviente tu presencia... pagaría por no verte...
si hasta el nombre te han cambiado como has cambiado de suerte:
ya no sos mi Margarita, ahora te llaman Margot!

Ahora vas con los otarios a pasarla de bacana
a un lujoso reservado del Petit o del Julien,
y tu vieja, ¡pobre vieja! lava toda la semana
pa' poder parar la olla, con pobreza franciscana,
en el triste conventillo alumbrado a kerosén.

Mano a mano

Mano a mano
Tango 1923
Música: Carlos Gardel / José Razzano
Letra: Celedonio Flores

Rechiflado en mi tristeza, te evoco y veo que has sido
en mi pobre vida paria sólo una buena mujer.
Tu presencia de bacana puso calor en mi nido,
fuiste buena, consecuente, y yo sé que me has querido
como no quisiste a nadie, como no podrás querer.

Se dio el juego de remanye cuando vos, pobre percanta,
gambeteabas la pobreza en la casa de pensión.
Hoy sos toda una bacana, la vida te ríe y canta,
Ios morlacos del otario los jugás a la marchanta
como juega el gato maula con el mísero ratón.

Hoy tenés el mate lleno de infelices ilusiones,
te engrupieron los otarios, las amigas y el gavión;
la milonga, entre magnates, con sus locas tentaciones,
donde triunfan y claudican milongueras pretensiones,
se te ha entrado muy adentro en tu pobre corazón.

Nada debo agradecerte, mano a mano hemos quedado;
no me importa lo que has hecho, lo que hacés ni lo que harás...
Los favores recibidos creo habértelos pagado
y, si alguna deuda chica sin querer se me ha olvidado,
en la cuenta del otario que tenés se la cargás.

Mientras tanto, que tus triunfos, pobres triunfos pasajeros,
sean una larga fila de riquezas y placer;
que el bacán que te acamala tenga pesos duraderos,
que te abrás de las paradas con cafishos milongueros
y que digan los muchachos: Es una buena mujer.
Y mañana, cuando seas descolado mueble viejo
y no tengas esperanzas en tu pobre corazón,
si precisás una ayuda, si te hace falta un consejo,
acordate de este amigo que ha de jugarse el pellejo
pa'ayudarte en lo que pueda cuando llegue la ocasión.

Mano a mano por Julio Sosa

sábado, 26 de enero de 2013

Gerhard Schoenberner

Fazit. Prosagedichte.
Argument Verlag 2011. S. 179

Leichtes Gepäck
Von Gerhard Schoenberger

In der Reisetasche meines Lebens
Bleiben wenige Gegenstände:
Eine verrostete Schere aus A
Eine Scherbe aus der Ziegelei von Les Milles
Die im Feuersturm verglühte Kachel
aus Küstrins Altstadt
Eine Kalebasse, ein kupferner Teller
Ein Umschlag mit Fotos
Eine Handvoll Kiesel
Einige Verse und Lieder
Gerüche, Erfahrungen
Gewissheiten und Zweifel
Unverlierbar. Mehr ist unnötig
So reise ich zu guter Letzt
mit leichtem Gepäck

Gerhard Schoenberner: Fazit. Prosagedichte. Argument Verlag 2011. S. 179 Der Schriftsteller und Gründungsdirektor der Gedenk- und Bildungsstätte Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz ist am 10. Dezember 2012 in Berlin gestorben.

Mi traducción:

En el bolso de viaje de mi vida
quedan pocos objetos:
una tijera oxidada de A
un fragmento del tejado de Les Milles
el azulejo quemado en el gran incendio
de la ciudad vieja de Küstrin
una calabaza, un plato de cobre
un sobre con fotos
un puñado de guijarros
algunos versos y canciones
aromas, experiencias
certezas y dudas
lo imprescindible. Mas es innecesario
Así viajo por fin
con equipaje liviano