Sunday, December 4, 2016

On The Road: Finding Bécquer by the Sea in Mexico

photo © Mark Butkus 2015
Literally, poetry on the road...

Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer is considered to be the most widely read Spanish writers after Cervantes. The Bar None Group came across his poetry on a mural of the history of Barra de Navidad, Jalisco, Mexico. Is it coincidental that Bécquer's poem is found in Christmas town? The author himself died Christmas week in 1870.

Known as Rima XXXVIII, Bécquer's poem in Barra de Navidad is one of three pieces of poetry that encapsulates the sea as a central theme.


Rima XXXVIII

¡Los suspiros son aire y van al aire!
¡Las lágrimas son agua y van al mar!
Dime, mujer, cuando el amor se olvida
¿Sabes tú adónde va?


Sighs are air and disperse to the air
Tears are water and flow to the sea
Tell me dear woman, when love is forgotten,
Do you know where it goes?


— Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer


Regarded as the founder of modern Spanish poetry, Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer's posthumously published Rimas is also widely held as one of the most important works in Spanish poetry.

Today, Bécquer's Rimas are usually published together with his book on Spanish legends, Leyendas as Rimas y Leyandas. There is no evidence that Bécquer ever made it to the Pacific coast village that honors his poetry.


photo © Mark Butkus 2015
A close-up of Becquer's Rima XXXVIII.