Antonio Machado

Rainbow at Night

for Don Ramon del Valle-Inclan

   The train moves through the Guadarrama
one night on the way to Madrid.
The moon and the fog create
high up a rainbow.
Oh April moon, so calm,
driving the white clouds!
   The mother holds her boy
sleeping on her lap.
The boy sleeps, and nevertheless
sees the green fields outside,
and trees lit up by sun,
and the golden butterflies.
   The mother, her forehead dark
between a day gone and a day to come,
sees a fire nearly out
and an oven with spiders.
   There’s a traveler made with grief,
no doubt seeing odd things;
he talks to himself, and when he looks
wipes us out with his look.
   I remember fields under snow,
and pine trees of mother mountains.
   And you, Lord, through whom we all
have eyes, and who sees souls,
tell us if we all one
day will see your face.

— translated from the Spanish by Robert Bly