poesía de gotán:

Como dos extraños (1940)

Like Two Strangers
lyrics by José María Contursi
music by Pedro Laurenz

I was made a coward
by loneliness
and the deep fear of dying far from you.
How I longed to weep
when I sensed, so close at hand,
reality’s mockery of me.
My heart begged me
to search for you and bring it your love—
my heart asked it of me,
and so I searched for you
believing you would be my salvation.

And now that I am face to face with you,
we seem—don’t we?—like two strangers.
The lesson I finally learned:
how years can change anything!
Anguish of knowing
that faith and dreams are dead…
I’m sorry if you see me tearing up—
my memories have done me wrong!

The sunlight turned pale
as I listened to your frigid words
our love was so unique
and it hurts to feel the proof
that everything, everything has ended.
What a grave mistake to see you again,
only to have my heart torn to shreds!
There are a million ghosts
who mock me with their return:
every moment of that dead yesterday…

Orquesta Pedro Laurenz, singer Juan Carlos Casas (1940)

Orquesta Francisco Canaro, singer Ernesto Famá (1940)

Mercedes Sosa (1994)

Sexteto Mayor, singer Adriana Varela (1995)

Juan Carlos Cáceres (2001)

(Spanish original after the jump)

Como dos extraños

Me acobardó la soledad
y el miedo enorme de morir lejos de ti…
¡Qué ganas tuve de llorar
sintiendo junto a mí
la burla de la realidad!
El corazón me suplicó
que te buscara y que le diera tu querer—
me lo pedía el corazón,
y entonces te busqué
creyéndote mi salvación.

Y ahora que estoy frente a ti
parecemos—¿ya ves?—dos extraños.
Lección que por fin aprendí:
¡cómo cambian las cosas los años!
Angustia de saber muertas ya
la ilusión y la fe…
perdón si me ves lagrimear—
¡Los recuerdos me han hecho mal!

Palideció la luz del sol
al escucharte fríamente conversar…
fue tan distinto nuestro amor
y duele comprobar
que todo, todo terminó.
¡Qué gran error volverte a ver
para llevarme destrozado el corazón!
Son mil fantasmas al volver,
burlándose de mí,
las horas de ese muerto ayer…

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.


9 thoughts on “Como dos extraños (1940)

  1. What an extraordinary Tango written about 80 years ago. I’ve listen the 4 versions and M Sosa stand out for me, even she is not a Tango singer that says a lot about her great talent and artistry. I”ll continue enyoy the translations even I know most by heart and finding always somthing new meaning in the poetry of Tango. Chears

    Posted by Miguel | 04.27.2010, 1:41 AM
  2. thank you for translating this…one of the most amazing and painful lyrics ever!!! agree with Miguel that Sosa version is the most amazing…

    and thanks to Kyla Mares for usually playing both Canaro and Laurenz versions at the same milonga, i love it!

    Posted by Varo | 05.03.2010, 11:13 PM
  3. I really love La Negra Sosa’s version too–such a powerful voice. Too bad we lost her a few months ago…

    Varo, I LOVE playing two different versions of the same tango by different orchestras at the same milonga too–not many people notice it though!

    Posted by poesiadegotan | 05.03.2010, 11:21 PM
  4. Great blog! @ Poesia de Gotan I do notice the different versions, especially when it’s a song I love.

    Posted by Keiko | 05.04.2010, 3:01 AM
  5. I think this is the way to go Derrick, post one tango in diferents versions and the people comented and get involve, so the tradition continuos. I think getting everyone comented in the diferents versions is good interest for all who love the tango.

    Posted by Miguel | 05.10.2010, 10:26 AM
  6. Great idea, thoroughly enjoyed the words (now that I know what they mean). Like Sosa’s rendition very much but I also found Caceres to be a very believable and moving presentation.

    Thanks again

    Posted by John Needham | 08.04.2010, 2:19 AM
  7. Love the last track! 😍😍

    Posted by Holly | 09.17.2019, 8:40 PM


  1. Pingback: Canaro #1—Late ’30s/Early ’40s Vocals « DDP's Favorite Tandas - 10.25.2011

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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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