My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart’s in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,
The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.

Farewell to the mountains, high-cover’d with snow,
Farewell to the straths and green vallies below;
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods,
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.

My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart’s in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.

Los versos son de Robert Burns (1759-1796), el gran poeta escocés, que expresa en ellos el poderoso sentimiento de nostalgia que lo aflige en la lejanía de su patria. Dulcemente le pesa ese sentimiento y se figura que, dondequiera que se encuentre, su corazón permanece allá, en las Tierras Altas de su Escocia. Y desde la lejanía les dice adiós, a las tierras del Norte, donde moran el coraje y el mérito. A las montañas cubiertas de nieve, a los valles, a los bosques agrestes, a los ríos y sonoras corrientes. Pero allá se ha quedado su corazón.

Prefiero este resumen imperfecto, porque estos versos me parece difícilmente traducibles, a pesar de su simplicidad formal y el carácter directo de su contenido.  He visto unas versiones por allí que dan escalofríos -que, por ejemplo, traducen “Highlands” por Altiplano. Mejor dejarlos así, sobre todo que, en la musicalización que de ellos hace el compositor estonio Arvo Pärt (1935), nos dirán ciertamente mucho más que una forzada traducción.

Unos versos de mi querido músico y poeta Robert Allen Zimmerman (1941), más conocido como Bob Dylan, se inspiran precisamente en el poema de Robert Burns. Transformados y realzados por la música del propio Bob, suenan my bien, para mi gusto.  Son su propia versión de la nostalgia por las Tierras Altas. De esas tierras por donde “fluyen las corrientes de Aberdeen”, a las que el músico poeta quisiera regresar, pero solo cuando “cuando sienta que es lo suficiente bueno para merecerlo”. Para mi gusto es un excelente poema, que insiste en comparar las dificultades e imperfecciones de la vida actual, acechada por la rutina y la locura, con la vida en las Tierras Altas.

En la canción de Bob Dylan, parece indiscutible que con la referencia a las Tierras Altas se alude a unas regiones metafísicas ubicadas muchísimo más arriba o más allá que las escocesas.

Esta vez, a las dificultades de una traducción poética se une la extensión del poema. Pero la música, como en el caso de la composición de Arvo Pärt, es la gran intérprete de los sentimientos humanos, más abstracta que la palabra pero también más profunda. Cuando ambas se alían buenamente, se alcanza un pequeño ideal. Les recomiendo esta canción, que es del album “Time out of Mind” (1997), de Bob Dylan. Es esta su canción de mayor duración. Y no se olviden que no sin razón fue alguna vez postulado al Premio Nobel de Literatura.



Well, my heart’s in the highlands, gentle and fair
Honey suckle bloomin’ in the wildwood air
Bluebells blazin’ where the Aberdeen waters flow
Well, my heart’s in the highlands, I’m gonna go there when
I feel good enough to go.

Windows were shakin’ all night in my dreams
Everything was exactly the way that it seems
Woke up this mornin’ and I looked at the same old page
Same old rat race, life in the same old cage.

I don’t want nothin’ from anyone, ain’t that much to take
Wouldn’t know the difference between a real blonde and a fake
Feel like a prisoner in a world of mystery
I wish someone would come and push back the clock for me.

Well, my heart’s in the highlands, wherever I roam
That’s where I’ll be when I get called home
The wind it whispers to the buck-eyed trees of rhyme
Well, my heart’s in the highlands, I can only get there one step at a time.

I’m listening to Neil Young, I gotta turn up the sound
Someone’s always yellin’, “Turn him down”
Feel like I’m driftin’, driftin’ from scene to scene
I’m wondering what in the devil could it all possibly mean.

Insanity is smashin’ up against my soul
You could say I was on anything but a roll
If I had a conscience, well I just might blow my top
What would I do with it anyway, maybe take it to the pawn shop.

My heart’s in the highlands at the break of dawn
By the beautiful lake of the black swan
Big white clouds like chariots that swing down low
Well, my heart’s in the highlands, only place left to go.

I’m in Boston town, in some restaurant
I got no idea what I want
Or maybe I do but, I’m just really not sure
Waitress comes over, nobody in the place but me and her.

Well, it must be a holiday, there’s nobody around
She studies me closely as I sit down
She got a pretty face, with long white shiny legs
I said, “Tell me what I want,” she say, “You probably want hard boiled eggs.”

I say, “That’s right, bring me some.”
She says, “We ain’t got any, you picked the wrong time to come.”
Then she says, “I know you’re an artist, draw a picture of me.”
I said, “I would if I could but I don’t do sketches from memory.”

Well, she then, she says, “I’m right here in front of you, or
haven’t you looked?”
I say, “All right, I know but I don’t have my drawing book.”
She gives me a napkin, she say, “You can do it on that.”
I say, “Yes I could but I don’t know where my pencil is at.”

She pulls one out from behind her ear
She says, “All right now go ahead, draw me, I’m stayin’ right here.”
I make a few lines and I show it for her to see
Well, she takes her napkin and throws it back and says, “That
don’t look a thing like me.”

I said, “Oh, kind Miss, it most certainly does.”
She say, “You must be jokin’,” I say, “I wish I was.”
Then she says, “You don’t read women authors do ya?” at least
that’s what I think I hear her say
Well, I said, “How would you know and what would it matter anyway?”

Well she says, “You just don’t seem like you do.” I said,
“You’re way wrong.”
She says “Which ones have you read then?” I say, “I’ve read
Erica Jong.”
She goes away for a minute and I slide out, out of my chair
I step outside back to the busy street but nobody is goin’ anywhere.

Well, my heart’s in the highlands with the horses and hounds
Way up in the border country far from the towns
With the twang of the arrow and the snap of the bow
My heart’s in the highlands, I can’t see any other way to go.

Every day is the same thing, out the door
Feel further away than ever before
Some things in life it just gets too late to learn
Well, I’m lost somewhere, I must have made a few bad turns.

I see people in the park forgettin’ their troubles and woes
They’re drinkin’ and dancin’, wearin’ bright colored clothes
All the young men, with the young women lookin’ so good
Well, I’d trade places with any of ‘em in a minute, if I could.

I’m crossing the street to get away from a mangy dog
Talkin’ to myself in a monologue
I think what I need might be a full length leather coat
Somebody just asked me if I’ve registered to vote.

The sun is beginnin’ to shine on me
But it’s not like the sun that used to be
The party’s over and there’s less and less to say
I got new eyes, everything looks far away.

Well, my heart’s in the highlands at the break of day
Over the hills and far away
There’s a way to get there and I’ll figure it out somehow
Well, I’m already there in my mind, and that’s good enough for now.

© 2014
Lino Althaner