poesía de gotán:

Tú…el cielo y tú (1944)

You…the Heavens and You
lyrics by Hector Marcó
music by Mario Canaro

Your handkerchief is lukewarm, still—
I kept reliving your farewell wave
from that shadowy dock.
Lukewarm, like the dying afternoon sun,
my snowy sun, with no hope
and no songbirds.
I keep the lukewarm kiss that you left
on my lips when you moved on,
because I still haven’t forgotten you.

I know the heavens,
the heavens and you,
shall come to me and save
my hands, still bound to this cross.
If this audacious lie
seeks to hurt me,
you will not discover
that it condemns me.
Keep it safe with you—
since it is my love—
to break my illusions
would be crueler still.

don’t repeat that goodbye…
the only ones who know about it are God,
the heavens, and you…

Orquesta Carlos Di Sarli, singer Alberto Podestá

Orquesta Enrique Rodríguez, singer Armando Moreno

(Spanish original after the jump)

Tú…el cielo y tú
Tibio está el pañuelo, todavía—
que tu adiós me repetía
desde el muelle de las sombras.
Tibio, como en la tarde muere el sol,
mi sol de nieve, sin esperanza
y sin alondras.
Tibio guardo el beso que dejaste
en mis labios al marcharte
porque aún no te olvidé.

yo sé que el cielo,
el cielo y tú,
vendrán a mí para salvar
mis manos, presas a esta cruz.
Si esta mentira audaz
busca mi pena,
no la descubras tú
que me condena.
Guárdala en ti,
que es mi querer—
desengañarme así
será más cruel.

no me repitas ese adiós…
que esto lo sepa sólo Dios,
el cielo y tú…

About Derrick Del Pilar

Born and raised in Chicago, I came to the tango while studying at the Universidad de Belgrano in Buenos Aires in 2006. In 2008 I earned my B.A. with majors in Creative Writing and Spanish & Portuguese from the University of Arizona, and in 2009 I earned an M.A. in Latin American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. My specialty is the history & literature of early 20th century Argentina.


8 thoughts on “Tú…el cielo y tú (1944)

  1. What a pleasure and a treat to enter into the deeper –and more precise–poetry and meanings of the songs I so love and love to dance to. Your site is wonderfully designed and ever so easy to enjoy. You will now be a regular stop on my daily web wanderings. Terry Clarke, my beau, translates tango lyrics as well, so I am feeling rich indeed to have access to such abundance of elegant work. Marvelous that you add the recordings too. Gracias para todo, Derrick!


    Posted by beatrice bowles | 05.13.2009, 1:23 AM
    • You’re very welcome Beatrice! That’s exactly the kind of response that really brings a smile to my face! I’m glad that my translations bring you so much joy :).
      Un abrazo,

      Posted by poesiadegotan | 05.13.2009, 4:44 PM
  2. Hi, Derrick: The job you do about to translate so very accurate the meaning of every tango, is a great asset for every one involve in tango, even more for the non spanish speaking people. So I salute you, Argentina salut you and the tango salute you. Live forever. [ no te mueras nunca]. Un abrazo.

    Posted by Miguel | 03.16.2010, 9:02 AM
  3. Hi Derrick, I’ve been trying to understand this song better and I wondered whether the part “Si esta mentira audaz busca mi pena” might also be translated as ‘If (it is) my pain that seeks this audacious lie” ? What is your opinion?

    Posted by Paula | 05.19.2010, 12:35 PM
    • Hi Paula,
      Good question!
      I don’t want to delve too much into linguist’s babble, so I’ll try to keep it simple: “normal” word order in everyday spoken Spanish (when no object pronouns are involved) is Subject Verb Object, just as in English. Thus, to simplify the sentence in question, “Esta mentira busca mi pena” would translate as “This lie seeks my pain,” which happens to be a word-for-word gloss.
      Of course, the text in question isn’t everyday spoken Spanish, is it? It’s a poem, set to music: lyrics. Just as in English lyrics and poetry, conventional word order doesn’t always apply. The verb “busca” is inflected in the 3rd person singular: thus, its subject could be either “mentira” or “pena.” However, if we do read it this way, then the word order in the sentence becomes Object Verb Subject, which is a very marked inversion.
      In short: both your version and mine are possible readings. Is it the lie that seeks his pain, or his pain that seeks the lie? Ambiguity and multiple interpretations contribute to the beauty of poetry, in my opinion. 🙂
      Hope this helps!

      Posted by poesiadegotan | 05.29.2010, 4:59 PM
  4. Hi Paula; ” Si esta mentira audaz busca mi pena”, means, Him was hoping since he was suffering so much, the pain will go away believing in her return, but that would’t happen and he did know it. Hope you understand a little more of the meaning and poetry of tango, that’s the way I see it.

    Posted by Miguel | 05.27.2010, 11:50 AM


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The sound files on this site are included for illustrative purposes only. Those wishing to obtain high quality versions for their personal collections should purchase commercially available copies. If you can't get to a record store in Buenos Aires, a great many tangos are available, song by song, in meticulously digitized versions from http://www.tangotunes.com/ and others can be found on the iTunes music store or Amazon (transfer quality varies widely). Though he no longer has inventory available, Michael Lavocah's superb http://milonga.co.uk/ can help you determine which CDs might be best to buy used.
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