A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Caminante, No Hay Camino

Wanderer, your footsteps are

the road, and nothing more;
wanderer, there is no road,
the road is made by walking.
By walking you make the road,
and on glancing back 
you see the path
that you will never tread again.
Wanderer, there is no road  — 
Only trails upon the sea.


Anonymous said...

oh yes! And just been reading Machado for the first time this week in Nooteboom's book on Spain,


Susan Scheid said...

A wonderful perspective, isn't it? And beautifully expressed.

The Solitary Walker said...

Ah, yet another blog-chronicity, Andy!

And yes, Susan, it's wonderful. I tinkered around with the translation very slightly and, dare I say it, hopefully improved it to a little from the translation you normally see. But that's for others to judge!

The idea of creating your own path is liberating, but also a little scary... if the paths we create are nothing more substantial than the wakes of boats upon the sea... but, of course, Machado is telling the unadorned truth here. Our lives can often seem as arbitrary and light as dandelion seeds blown this way and that in the wind. I think the poem is both romantic and realistic at the same time and, yes, it's wonderful, as I said to start with.