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Alas rotas (1924)

Broken Wings
lyrics by Maruja (María Esther) Pacheco Huergo
music by Edgardo Donato

As I unwound all of yesterday’s memories
from the sad reality of my life,
I heard your distant voice and my desire
cried out, beneath the shadow of your forgetfulness.

In the evening’s dying breaths
autumn leaves fall all around me.
I’m alone in my sorrow and I’m afraid
of this absence, which distances me from you.

Your crazy dream of flight
has broken your wings, butterfly. [1]
And in the sad abandonment of your longings, [2]
you tried to hide your great shame.

Wingless butterfly, you are only
a shadow lost in space.
I want to erase all your misfortunes
in the humble warmth of my embrace.

[1] Mariposa (lit. “butterfly”) refers to a pretty young girl who flits from suitor to suitor like a butterfly flitting from flower to flower. I chose to translate the word in the text because in English we have a similar but distinct expression “social butterfly.” Both expressions emphasize the fickle and fleeting nature of the person’s attentions and affections.
[2] The Spanish noun I’ve translated here as “abandonment” is
orfandad, lit. “the state of being an orphan.”

Orquesta Edgardo Donato, singer Horacio Lagos (1938)

(Spanish original after the jump)

Alas rotas

Desatando los recuerdos del ayer
en la triste realidad de mi vivir,
escuché tu voz distante y mi querer
sollozó en la sombra larga de tu olvido.

Bajo el soplo agonizante de la tarde
caen las hojas del otoño junto a mí.
Estoy solo en mi dolor y tengo miedo
de esta ausencia que me aleja más de ti.

En tus locos afanes de vuelo
te has quebrado las alas, mariposa.
Y en la pobre orfandad de tus anhelos,
pretendiste ocultar tu gran derrota.

Mariposa sin alas sólo eres
una sombra perdida en el espacio.
Yo quisiera borrar tu desventura
en la humilde tibieza de mis brazos.

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.

Discussion

One thought on “Alas rotas (1924)

  1. Thanks. Joe

    Posted by Joe Caldwell | 07.14.2015, 8:45 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, from http://www.tangotunes.com/ and others can be found on iTunes (transfer quality varies widely). Many CDs are available through online retailers such as Michael Lavocah's superb http://milonga.co.uk/.

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