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Sin palabras (1946)

No Words [1]
lyrics by Enrique Santos Discépolo
music by Mariano Mores

It was born from you,
in search of a song to bring us together,
now I know that it’s cruel—brutal, even—
my punishment for you.

With no words
this music will still wound you,
wherever your betrayal may hear it…
On the most absurd night, on the saddest day,
when you laugh, or when your dreams weep.

Forgive me, if it is God
who tried to punish you, in the end…
if there are sobs that can hound you so,
if these notes born from your love
are in the end a cilice that opens [2]
the wounds of a story—
They are torments, they are memories!
Wounded puppet, my own sorrow [3]
will surge
every time
you hear this song!

It was born from you…
a future made of lies among hopes,
now I know that it’s cruel—brutal, even—
my punishment for you.

This song will speak your name without saying it,
and without saying it, I will be beside your name,
eyes half blind from my shock,
along with the shock of not dying from your loss.

Orquesta Osvaldo Pugliese, singer Alberto Morán (1947)

Orquesta Aníbal Troilo, singer Alberto Marino (1946)

Orquesta Rodolfo Biagi, singer Carlos Saavedra (1946)

[1] The expression sin palabras, though it also carries the more literal meaning “wordlessly,” as in the second verse, is often translated in many contexts as  “speechless”—e.g., “se quedó sin palabras” means “she was struck speechless,” often in astonishment or terror. In modern colloquial English, speakers may also say, “I have no words” when they are at a loss to respond to a terrible situation.

[2] A cilice is a hair shirt, spiked garter, or any similar device worn by some zealous Catholic penitents as a constant reminder of their sinful nature.

[3] A fantoche can be a puppet (a marionette or a Punch-and-Judy type, or an easily manipulated person, as in English), but it also refers to a silly person who is falsely boastful—a braggart, a windbag.

(Spanish original after the jump)

Sin palabras

Nació de ti…
buscando una canción que nos uniera,
y hoy sé que es cruel—brutal, quizá—
el castigo que te doy.

Sin palabras
esta música va a herirte,
dondequiera que la escuche tu traición…
La noche más absurda, el día más triste.
Cuando estés riendo, o cuando llore tu ilusión.

Perdóname si es Dios,
quien quiso castigarte al fin…
Si hay llantos que pueden perseguir así,
si estas notas que nacieron por tu amor,
al final son un cilicio que abre heridas de una historia—
¡Son suplicios, son memorias!
Fantoche herido, mi dolor
se alzará,
cada vez
que oigas esta canción!…

Nació de ti…
mintiendo entre esperanzas un destino,
y hoy sé que es cruel, brutal -quizá-
el castigo que te doy…

Sin decirlo esta canción dirá tu nombre,
sin decirlo con tu nombre estaré yo,
los ojos casi ciegos de mi asombro,
junto al asombro de perderte y no morir.

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.

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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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