A poem by Antonio Mura Ena [A][B][C][D]

First published in Recuida, Edes, Sassari, 1998. La Biblioteca di Babele, Collana di letteratura sarda plurilingue, Diretta dal Prof. Nicola Tanda. [Commentary]
Jeo no 'ippo torero
The original Sardinian
by A.M. Ena
Jeo 'ippo Juanne 'Arina.
Luvulesu, pitzinnu minore.
In tempus de laore, a manzanu e a sero,
de voes e de vaccas punghitore.
Ma no 'ippo torero.

Jeo no so mortu
A sa chinbe de 'orta die
(che a Ignacio Sànchez).
Je so mortu a s'arveschere
in su creschere.

No b'aiat pro me in s'arena
un'isporta 'e carchina vattuta
a isterrita, supra su sambene
a mie no m'an vattutu
unu savanu biancu.

Unu voe m'aiat incorratu
in sa jaca 'e s'ortu.
Ohi! chi so mortu
a mamma appo cramatu
a sa jaca de s'ortu.


Mamma est vennita a s'ortu
Apporrimi sa manu
E 'ocaminde, mama
Dae custa mala cama
De sa terra 'e s'ortu.
No mi lasses in terra
Che infattu 'e gama.
Cramami a babbu, mama,
chi torret dae gherra...

-'Itzu meu galanu
no lu poto cramare.
Ca babbu est mortu in mare,
e tue ses orfanu,
'itzu meu galanu.

Tue lu des contare
In donzi terra e portu
Chi at tentu malu irgrabbu,
'itzu meu galanu.
Tue lu des contare
Chi babbu est mortu in mare
In donzi terra e portu
Chi babbu in mare est mortu.


Ohi sa calentura, sa calentura!
Unu 'ilu luchente mi porriat caente
Babbu su mortu in mare,
mi lu porriat caente a m'ampilare
a caminu 'e chelos.

M'ampilaiat a fiancu
Unu zovanu 'ertu
Su solopattu abbertu
De cristallu biancu
E un'ispada in manos.
E una 'erta in s'imbene
Chei sa mea.

L'appompiaio jeio
m'appompiaio isse:
- Está herido? – Sisse.
- Eres torero? - Nosse.

Vostè juchet in s'imbene una ferta
Aberta, chei sa mea.

-Vostè es torero?
-Yo soy un río de leones.
Gloria de Andalusia.
Tú eres torero?

-Nosse, vostè. Jeo no 'ippo torero.
Jeo 'ippo Juanne 'Arina,
pitzinnu minore.
A manzanu e a sero,
in tempus de laore,
de voes e de vaccas punghitore.
Ma no 'ippo torero.
In sa jaca 'e s'ortu
Unu 'oe m'haiat incorratu.
Ma no 'ippo torero.

-Calla, niñito, calla.
Tú eres torero!
El mas grande torero sardeñolo
demasiado pequeño.

Subimos juntos a los toros celestes.
Toma tu mano pequeña
a este herido leon,
torero sardeñolito
niñito del corazón.

No toreador was I
English Translation
© F.Chessa & G.Brelstaff
Juanne 'Arina was I
boy herdsman of Lula.
In the sowing season, morning and evening
driver of oxen and a few cows.
No toreador was I.

I didn't die
one afternoon at five
(as did Ignacio Sànchez).
at daybreak I died
during my boyhood.

For me, in the arena, no
bag of lime was thrown
down, like a blanket, over blood.
For me they brought out no
white sheet.

Gored by an ox
at the farmyard gate.
Oh! how I died.
To my mother I cried
at the farmyard gate.


My mother came by the yard.
"Give me your hand
and set me free, mammy,
from the pain that burns me
down on the yard floor.
Don't leave me in this dirt,
under the herd.
Call father for me, mammy,
he's back from the war..."

- "Oh fair son of mine,
He here I can't call.
Your dad's dead at sea,
you're an orphan, oh
fair son of mine.

"Go out and tell
in every nation and port
the misfortune you've met
fair son of mine.
Go out and tell
your dad's dead at sea,
in every nation and port,
at sea, your dad's dead."


Oh! such burning, what burning!
Bring me a shining hot thread
at sea my dad's dead,
and help me to climb
the path to the skies.

Yet by my side arose
a wounded young man
with an open waistcoat
white as crystal
and a sword in his hand.
And a wound in the groin
like mine.

I looked at him,
he looked back at me:
- Está herido? - Yes sir.
- Eres torero? - No sir.

You, sir, have a wound in the groin
open, like mine.

- Are you a toreador?
-Yo soy un río de leones.
Gloria de Andalusia.
Tú eres torero?

- No, sir, no toreador was I.
Juanne 'Arina was I,
boy herdsman.
Morning and evening,
in the sowing season
driver of oxen and a few cows.
But, no toreador was I.
At the farmyard gate
gored by an ox.
But, no toreador was I.

-Calla, niñito, calla.
Tú eres torero!
El mas grande torero sardeñolo
demasiado pequeño.

Subimos juntos a los toros celestes.
Toma tu mano pequeña
a este herido leon,
torero sardeñolito
niñito del corazón.

This poetic masterpiece directly reflects another by Garcia Lorca "A la cinquo de la tarde" in which the famous toreador Ignacio Sànchez dies (at five in the evening). Here, however, the protaganist confesses to be no toeredor. Rather he is a lowly Sardinian peasant boy who herded cattle (Juanne 'Arina was I/Boy herdsman of Lula./In sowing season,/morning and evening/Driver of oxen and cows.) for his mother while his father was away at war. Like Lorca's toreador this boy was gored in the groin by a cattle horn and died. We then diverge from this common origin: the boy's end unlike that of the toreador was untimely (I died at daybreak in my childhood), ignominious (For me in the arena no/bag of lime was thrown down,/like a blanket, over the blood./For me they brought no/white sheet.) and shaming (Gored by an ox/at the farmyard gate./Oh! how I died.); His burning pain leads him to cry out unmanly for his mother. Although his mother arrives she is unable to respond to the boy's cries for assistance (Give me your hand/ and set me free, mammy,/from the pain that burns me/here on the farmyard floor./Don't leave me on the ground,/behind the herd.) and his plea to see his father (Call daddy for me, mammy,/he's back from the war...) except with the sad revelation that his father's dead at sea, and with an elegiac bidding to tell all of his dual misfortune (Go out and tell/in every land and port/the misfortune you've met/fair son of mine./Go out and tell/ that your father is dead at sea,/in every land and port,/that your father, at sea, is dead). In his hallucination (Oh! such burning, what burning!) the boy heedlessly continues to implore his father to help him get up (Bring me a shining hot thread/ my daddy, dead at sea,/and help me to climb/ the path to the skies.). The response though is not from his father but from an apparition of the illustrious toreador (Yet by my side arose/a wounded young man/with an open waistcoat/white as crystal/and a sword in his hand.) bearing the same wound as the boy (And a wound in the groin/like mine.)
The two of them share glances and, in Spanish, the toreador asks the boy if he is wounded (-Está herido?) to which he answers - Yes sir. The Spaniard then asks if the boy is a toreador (- Eres torero? ) to which the boy answers No sir, and observes that they share a wound in the same place (You, sir, have a wound in the groin/open, like mine) The boy then echoes the same question (Are you a toreador?) to be told he is talking to a real toreador - in life known as River of Lions - Glory of Andulsia (-Yo soy un río de leones./Gloria de Andalusia). The toreador repeats his question to which the boy again say No, sir, no toreador was I. Then follows the same pattern of lines that began the poem with the boy repeating his description of his peasant existence (Juanne 'Arina was I,/Boy herdsman./Morning and evening,/in the sowing season/Driver of oxen and cows), adding this time how he At the farmyard gate was Gored by an ox. Finally the great toreador gives consolation echoing Lorca's poem: Calla, niñito, calla....
English version by © Francesca Chessa