A story from Uruguay: “Watching a child play” José Enrique Rodó (“Mirando jugar a un niño”) A story my dad used to read to me

(A story my dad used to read to me when I was growing up)

“Watching a child play”

 

The child played in the house’s garden with a crystal glass that, in the humid atmosphere of the afternoon, a ray of sun made it iridescent, like a prism. Keeping it, not very firmly, in one hand,  he carried a reed in the other hand with which he struck the crystal glass. After each strike, he bowed his head head very attentively, while the sound waves, as if born from a vibrant bird’s trill, detached from the wounded glass and died softly in the air.

He prolonged his improvised music until, in a fit of fickleness, he changed the reason for his game: he leaned to the ground, scooped up the clean sand from the path in the hollow of his hands and poured it into the glass until it was full. When this work was finished, he smoothed the uneven sand of the edges. It was not long before he wanted to hear the crystal’s new resonance: but the crystal, muted, as if its soul had migrated from its diaphanous core, did not respond except for a sound of dry percussion at the blow of the reed. The artist had a gesture of anger for the failure of his lyre. He had to shed a tear, but he left it in suspense.

He looked uncertain, around him: his moist eyes paused at a white and pompous flower, which at the edge of a nearby path, swayed on the branch that came forward, and seemed to shun the company of the leaves, waiting for a daring hand. The boy went, smiling, to the flower; he struggled to reach it; and imprisoning it, with the complicity of the wind that caused the branch to fall for a moment, once he had a hold of it, he placed it graciously in the crystal glass, turning it into a proud vase, securing the feeble stem thanks to the same sand that had suffocated the musical soul of the glass. Proud of his revenge, he held the glass vase high, as high as he could, his flower now enthroned, he proudly walked it in triumph, among the multitude of flowers.

Wise, candid philosophy! -I thought-. From a cruel failure his discouragement is not lasting, nor does he persist in returning to the enjoyment he lost; but from the same conditions that determined the failure, he  transforms it into an opportunity for a new game, a new dream, of new beauty …

Ah, if in the course of our lives we ​​all imitated that child! When confronted by the successive limitations and failures in our lives , we did like him, keeping our hopes and dreams, and bringing them to life!

Let us not clumsily crash the glass against the stones of the road, just because it has stopped playing its music. Perhaps the reparative flower exists. Maybe it’s there very close …

José Enrique Rodó

Uruguayan, 1872-1917

(Una historia que me padre me leía de chica)

“Mirando jugar a un niño”

Jugaba el niño en el jardín de la casa con una copa de cristal que, en el límpido ambiente de la tarde, un rayo de sol tornasolaba como un prisma. Manteniéndola, no muy firme, en una mano, traía en la otra un junco con el que golpeaba acompasadamente en ella. Después de cada toque, inclinando la graciosa cabeza quedaba atento, mientras las ondas sonoras, como nacidas de un vibrante trino de pájaro, se desprendían del herido cristal y agonizaban suavemente en los aires.

 

Prolongó así su improvisada música hasta que, en un arranque de volubilidad, cambió el motivo de su juego: se inclinó a tierra, recogió en el hueco de ambas manos la arena limpia del sendero y la fue vertiendo en la copa hasta llenarla. Terminada esta obra, alisó, por primor, la arena desigual de los bordes. No pasó mucho tiempo sin que quisiera volver a arrancar al cristal su fresca resonancia: pero el cristal enmudecido, como si hubiera emigrado un alma de su diáfano seno, no respondía más que con un ruido de seca percusión al golpe del junco. El artista tuvo un gesto de enojo para el fracaso de su lira. Hubo de verter una lágrima, mas la dejó en suspenso. Miró como indeciso, a su alrededor: sus ojos húmedos se detuvieron en una flor muy blanca y pomposa, que a la orilla de un sendero cercano, meciéndose en la rama que más se adelantaba, parecía rehuir la compañía de las hojas, en espera de una mano atrevida. El niño se dirigió, sonriendo, a la flor; pugnó por alcanzar hasta ella; y aprisionándola, con la complicidad del viento que hizo abatirse por un instante la rama, cuando la hubo hecho suya la colocó graciosamente en la copa de cristal, vuelta en ufano búcaro, asegurando el tallo endeble merced a la misma arena que había sofocado el alma musical de la copa. Orgulloso de su desquite, levantó cuan alto pudo, la flor entronizada, y la paseó, como en triunfo, por entre la muchedumbre de las flores.

¡Sabia, candorosa filosofía! –pensé-. Del fracaso cruel no recibe desaliento que dure, ni se obstina en volver al goce que perdió; sino que de las mismas condiciones que determinaron el fracaso, toma la ocasión de un nuevo juego, de una nueva idealidad, de nueva belleza…

¡Ah, si en el transcurso de la vida todos imitáramos al niño! ¡Si ante los límites que pone sucesivamente la fatalidad a nuestros propósitos, nuestras esperanzas y nuestros sueños, hiciéramos como él!…

No rompamos torpemente la copa contra las piedras del camino, solo porque haya dejado de sonar. Tal vez la flor reparadora existe. Tal vez está allí cerca…

José Enrique Rodó

Uruguayo, 1872-1917

Image result for picture jose enrique rodo

 

Advertisements

2 Comments Add yours

  1. LindaP says:

    What a wonderful story Amira! It’s so wonderful that your dad took the time to read to you, leaving you with a beautiful memory! God bless you today and always! Love, Linda.

    Like

  2. Thank you Linda! Yes, I guess he was the one who instilled in me the love for literature, he loved books, and was always surrounded by them! 🙂
    I still have quite a few left from him 🙂 A big hug back to you ❤

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s