What is there within this beggar lad That I can neither hear nor feel nor see, That I can neither know nor understand And still it calls to me? Is not he but a shadow in the sun⎯ A bit of clay, brown, ugly, given life? And yet he plays upon his flute a wild free tune As if Fate had not bled him with her knife!
¿Qué habrá dentro de este chico pordiosero Que yo no puedo oír ni ver ni sentir, Que no puedo saber ni comprender Pero que me sigue llamando? ¿Será que no es más que una sombra en el sol — Un trozo de arcilla, marrón, feo, que recibió vida? ¡Mas sigue tocando con su flauta un son alocado y libre Como si el Destino no lo hubiera desangrado ya con su puñal! Translation by Patricia Bejarano Fisher
“Langston Hughes was a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance, the flowering of black intellectual, literary, and artistic life that took place in the 1920s in a number of American cities, particularly Harlem. A major poet, Hughes also wrote novels, short stories, essays, and plays. He sought to honestly portray the joys and hardships of working-class black lives, avoiding both sentimental idealization and negative stereotypes” (Poetry Foundation)
Spanish translation by Patricia Bejarano Fisher
Poetry Foundation. “Langston Hughes.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation, 2014, www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/langston-hughes.