The Spanish Dancer – a poem by José Martí

The poet is Cuban writer, philosopher, politician, patriot, and national hero. José Martí (January 28, 1853 – May 19, 1895). Here’s my translation of his poem The Spanish Dancer. Here’s a link to Julian Bream playing Enrique Granados’ Andaluza:

Alone, as the sun goes down My pulse quickens, my heart’s beating There is a dancer in town Performing, they say, Spanish dancing

They took down with utmost care The Spanish flag at the door Because, if that flag is there My feet will not touch that floor

There! She’s on stage! Watch her go! She is perfect, pale, poised, oh so fine Somebody said she’s from Vigo That’s simply wrong: she’s divine!

She’s clad in a white dress, under A red cashmere shawl And she looks just like a flower After a Spring rainfall

I catch a glimpse of her face Her dark eyes won’t let go! There is the gypsy in her gaze But skin as pristine as snow

Music plays, the lights go down Suddenly she swiftly sweeps by A Spanish Lady of the Ascension Arrived in Andalucia nearby

Defiantly, she looks forward Flings her shawl on to the floor Retrieves it, aloft and onward Steps forth, offering yet more

Clicking her heels in fast patterns On the wooden stage she prances As on a floor of human hearts Unrelentingly she dances

Now insinuating her game With red mantle, reddened face She sways like a tree in flame With gleaming and burning gaze

All of a sudden she leaps And opens her cashmere shawl Retracts, flexes, spins, reveals A glimpse of her camisole

Her body gives in and ripples And her open mouth inviting They are like roses, those lips But now her footwork is stopping

She gently turns, and then exits Departs averting our eyes In a quiet daze she leaves Her crimson shawl on her shoulders

That Spanish dancer is entrancing! She set my pulse quickly beating If she’s still in town performing Tomorrow I will see her dancing