Friday, January 10, 2014

The Bridge of Sighs



I too have been across this bridge
Appropriately as a quiet dreamer
Where time would pass by slowly
Like the turning of a page from a book of memories.

My dreams have told me many things.
In a muted, sighing language
I unwrapped the canvas of my yesterdays
From its charming yet tragic past.

When a day was a romantic stroll of two lovers,
One, the sweet feminine mystique;
The other, the tragedy of a 'Don Juan.'

And today recalling their sorrows and their joys
I gaze sympathetically 
As their sighs become tears.


— Juan Parra del Riego


Written in 1913 by the then 19 year-old Juan Parra del Riego (1894-1925) El Puente is from the author's larger Canto de Barranco. Later to be known as "The King of Peruvian Poets" del Riego's work is largely unknown outside of South America with very few translations attempted in English.

The Bridge of Sighs is an actual bridge in Barranco — an area of Lima, Peru. Inaugurated on Valentine's Day in 1876 the "Puente de los Suspiros" underwent a major renovation in 2008-2009. It reopened to thousands of gatherers on Valentine's Day 2009 and remains a popular destination for lovers young and old to gather and dream. The area under the bridge is known as Juan Parra del Riego Park and his poem El Puente is immortalized on a nearby wall.


El Puente

Yo he sentido al pasar por este puente
Silencioso propicio ensoñador
Cual si fuera pasando lentamente
La pagina de un libro evocador

Muchas cosas de ensueño me ha contado
En un mudo lenguaje suspirante
Me ha desenvuelto el lienzo del pasado
de su pasado tragico y galante

Un dia fue romantico paseo
Del dulce femenino secreteo
Otro fue la tragedia de un "Don Juan"

Y hoy que evoco sus penas y sus gozos
contemplándolo siento que ya van
Los suspiros haciendose sollozos


— Juan Parra del Riego