Mi Retiro

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Mi Retiro (My Retreat) is a poem written by Philippine national hero Jose Rizal in 1895 as a reply to his mother’s request. . It has 24 stanzas and 120 lines. In this poem, Rizal expressed his lonely life in his exile in Dapitan. He also became appreciative and sentimental here about his life, nature and surroundings in Dapitan.

Mi Retiro served as Rizal’s autobiography in Dapitan. He described his hut near the shore where the sand is finer. He also described the sound of the animals and calm skies. Though full of gloom because of being alone, Rizal managed to live, making his loved ones and the past memories as his inspirations:

“I live with the remembrance of those that I have loved and hear their names still spoken, who haunt my memory; some already are dead, others have long forgotten— but what does it matter? I live remembering the past and no one can ever take the past away from me.”

Rizal also compared himself to a butterfly that goes from flower to flower to sip the sweetest nectar, just like when he went to abroad to pursue his studies.

“A butterfly a thirst for radiances and colors, dreaming of other skies and of a larger strife, I left, scarcely a youth, my land and my affections, and vagrant eveywhere, with no qualms, with no terrors, squandered in foreign lands the April of my life.”

Contents

Mi Retiro

Cabe anchurosa playa de fina y suave arena
y al pie de una montaña cubierta de verdor
planté mi choza humilde bajo arboleda amena,
buscando de los bosques en la quietud serena
reposo a mi cerebro, silencio a mi dolor.


Su techo es frágil su suelo débil cana,
sus vigas y columnas maderas sin labrar;
nada vale, por cierto, mi rústica cabaña;
mas duerme en el regazo de la eterna montaña,
y la canta y la arrulla noche y días el mar.


Un afluente arroyuelo, que de la selva umbria
desciende entre peñascos, la baña con amor,
y un chorro le regala por tosca cañería
que en la cálida noche es canto y melodía
y néctar cristalino del día en el calor.


Si el cielo esta sereno, mansa corre la fuente,
Su cítara invisible tañedo sin cesar;
pero vienen las lluvias, e impetuoso torrente
peñas y abismos salta, ronco, espumante, hirviente,
y se arroja rugiendo frenético hacia el mar.


Del perro los ladridos, de las aves trino
del kalao la voz ronca solas se oyen alli,
no hay hombre vanidoso ni importuno vecino
que se imponga a mi mente, ni estorbo mi camino;
solo tengo las selvas y el mar cerca de mí.


El mar, el mar es todo! su masa soberana
los átomos me trae de mundos que lejos son;
me alienta su sonrisa de límpida mañana,
y cuando por la tarde mi fe resulta vana
encuentra en sus tristezas un eco el corazón.


DE noche es un arcano! ... su diáfano elemento
se cubre de millares, y millares de luz;
la brisa vaga fresca, reluce el firmamento,
las olas en suspiros cuentan al manso viento
historias que se pierden del tiempo en el capiz.


Dizque cuentan del mundo la primera alborada,
del sol el primer beso que su seno encendió,
cuando miles de seres surgieron de la nada,
y el abismo poblaron y la cima encumbrada
y doquiera su beso facundante estampó.


Mas cuando en noche oscura los vientos enfurecen
y las inquietas alas comienzan a agitar,
crusan en aire gritos que el ánimo estremecen
, coros, voces que rezan, lamentos que parecen
exhalar los que un tiempo se hundieron en el mar.


Entonces repercuten los montes de la altura,
los árboles se agitan de confín a confín;
aullan los ganados, retumba la espesura,
sus espíritus dicen que van a la llanura
llamadas por los muertos a fúnebre festín.


Silva, silva la noche, confusa, aterradora;
verdes, azules llamas en el mar vense arder;
mas la calma renace con la próxima aurora
y pronto una atrevida barquilla pescadora
las fatigadas alas comienza a recorrer.


Asi pasan los días en mi oscuro retiro,
desterrado del mundo donde tiempo viví,
de mi rara fortuna la providencia admiro:
quijarro abandonado que al musgo solo aspiro
para ocultar a todos el mundo que tengo en mí!


Vivo con los recuerdos de los que yo he amado
y oigo de vez en cuando sus nombres pronunciar:
unos estan ya muertos, otros me han abandonado;
¿mas que importa? ... Yo vivo pensando en lo pasado
y lo pasado nadie me puede arrebatar.


El es mi fiel amigo que nunca me desdora
que siempre alienta el alma cuando triste la ve,
que en mis noches de insomnio conmigo vela y ora
conmigo, y en mi destierro y en mi cabaña mora,
y cuando todos dudan solo él me infunde fe.


Yo la tengo, y yo espero que ha de brillar un día
en que venza la idea a la fuerza brutal,
que después de la lucha y la lente agonía,
otra voz mas sonora y mas feliz que la mía
sabrá cantar entonces el cántico truinfal.


Veo brillar el cielo tan puro y refulgente
como cuando forjaba mi primera ilusión,
el mismo soplo siento besar mi mustia frente,
el mismo que encendía mi entusiasmo ferviente
y hacía hervir la sangre del joven corazón.


Yo respiro la brisa que acaso haya pasado
por los campos y ríos de mi pueblo natal;
acaso me devuelva lo que antes le he confiado
los besos y suspiros de un ser idolatrado,
las dulces confidencias de un amor virginal!


Al ver la misma luna, cual antes argentada,
la antigua melancolía siento en mi renancer;
despiertan mil recuerdos de amor y fe jurada ...
un patio, una azotea, la playa, un enramada,
silencios y suspiros, rubores de placer ...


Mariposa sedienta de la luz y de colores,
sonando en otros cielos y en más vasto pensil,
dejé, jóven apenas, mi patria y mis amores,
y errante por doquiera sin dudas, sin temores,
gasté en tierras extrañas de mi vida de abril.


Y despues, cuando quise, golondrina causada,
al nido de mis padres y de mi amor volver,
rugió fiera de pronto violenta turbonada:
vense rotas mis alas, desecha la morada,
la fe vendida a otros y ruinas por doquier.


Lanzado a una pana de la patria que adora,
el porvenir destruído, sin hogar, sin salud,
de toda mi existencia el único tesoro,
creencias de una sana, sincera juventud.


Ya no sóis como antes, llenas de fuego y vida
brindando mil coronas a la inmortalidad;
algo serias os hallo; mas nuestra faz querida
si ya es tan sincera, si esta descolorida
en cambio lleva el sello de la fidelidad.


Me ofrecéis, oh ilusiones! la copa del consuelo,
y mis jovenes años a despertar venís:
gracias a ti, tormenta; gracias, vientos del cielo,
que a buena hora supísteis cortar mi incierto vuelo,
para abatirme al suelo de mi natal país.


Cabe anchurosa playa de fina y suave arena
y al pie de una montaña cubierta de verdor,
hallé en mi patria asilo bajo arboleda amena,
y en sus umbrosos bosques, tranquilidad serena,
reposo a mi cerebro, silencio a mi dolor.

Translations

My Retreat

(Translated from the Spanish by Nick Joaquin)

Beside a spacious beach of fine and delicate sand
and at the foot of a mountain greener than a leaf,
I planted my humble hut beneath a pleasant orchard,
seeking in the still serenity of the woods
repose to my intellect and silence to my grief.


Its roof is fragile nipa; its floor is brittle bamboo;
its beams and posts are rough as rough-hewn wood can be;
of no worth, it is certain, is my rustic cabin;
but on the lap of the eternal mount it slumbers
and night and day is lulled by the crooning of the sea.


The overflowing brook, that from the shadowy jungle
descends between huge bowlders, washes it with its spray,
donating a current of water through makeshift bamboo pipes
that in the silent night is melody and music
and crystalline nectar in the noon heat of the day.


If the sky is serene, meekly flows the spring,
strumming on its invisible zither unceasingly;
but come the time of the rains, and an impetuous torrent
spills over rocks and chasms—hoarse, foaming and aboil—
to hurl itself with a frenzied roaring toward the sea.


The barking of the dog, the twittering of the birds,
the hoarse voice of the kalaw are all that I hear;
there is no boastful man, no nuisance of a neighbor
to impose himself on my mind or to disturb my passage;
only the forests and the sea do I have near.


The sea, the sea is everything! Its sovereign mass
brings to me atoms of a myriad faraway lands;
its bright smile animates me in the limpid mornings;
and when at the end of day my faith has proven futile,
my heart echoes the sound of its sorrow on the sands.


At night it is a mystery! … Its diaphanous element
is carpeted with thousands and thousands of lights that climb;
the wandering breeze is cool, the firmament is brilliant,
the waves narrate with many a sigh to the mild wind
histories that were lost in the dark night of time.


‘Tis said they tell of the first morning on the earth,
of the first kiss with which the sun inflamed her breast,
when multitudes of beings materialized from nothing
to populate the abyss and the overhanging summits
and all the places where that quickening kiss was pressed.


But when the winds rage in the darkness of the night
and the unquiet waves commence their agony,
across the air move cries that terrify the spirit,
a chorus of voices praying, a lamentation that seems
to come from those who, long ago, drowned in the sea.


Then do the mountain ranges on high reverberate;
the trees stir far and wide, by a fit of trembling seized;
the cattle moan; the dark depths of the forest resound;
their spirits say that they are on their way to the plain,
summoned by the dead to a mortuary feast.


The wild night hisses, hisses, confused and terrifying;
one sees the sea afire with flames of green and blue;
but calm is re-established with the approach of dawning
and forthwith an intrepid little fishing vessel
begins to navigate the weary waves anew.


So pass the days of my life in my obscure retreat;
cast out of the world where once I dwelt: such is my rare
good fortune; and Providence be praised for my condition:
a disregarded pebble that craves nothing but moss
to hide from all the treasure that in myself I bear.


I live with the remembrance of those that I have loved
and hear their names still spoken, who haunt my memory;
some already are dead, others have long forgotten—
but what does it matter? I live remembering the past
and no one can ever take the past away from me.


It is my faithful friend that never turns against me,
that cheers my spirit when my spirit’s a lonesome wraith,
that in my sleepless nights keeps watch with me and prays
with me, and shares with me my exile and my cabin,
and, when all doubt, alone infuses me with faith.


Faith do I have, and I believe the day will shine
when the Idea shall defeat brute force as well;
and after the struggle and the lingering agony
a voice more eloquent and happier than my own
will then know how to utter victory’s canticle.


I see the heavens shining, as flawless and refulgent
as in the days that saw my first illusions start;
I feel the same breeze kissing my autumnal brow,
the same that once enkindled my fervent enthusiasm
and turned the blood ebullient within my youthful heart.


Across the fields and rivers of my native town
perhaps has travelled the breeze that now I breathe by chance;
perhaps it will give back to me what once I gave it:
the sighs and kisses of a person idolized
and the sweet secrets of a virginal romance.


On seeing the same moon, as silvery as before,
I feel within me the ancient melancholy revive;
a thousand memories of love and vows awaken:
a patio, an azotea, a beach, a leafy bower;
silences and sighs, and blushes of delight …


A butterfly athirst for radiances and colors,
dreaming of other skies and of a larger strife,
I left, scarcely a youth, my land and my affections,
and vagrant eveywhere, with no qualms, with no terrors,
squandered in foreign lands the April of my life.


And afterwards, when I desired, a weary swallow,
to go back to the nest of those for whom I care,
suddenly fiercely roared a violent hurricane
and I found my wings broken, my dwelling place demolished,
faith now sold to others, and ruins everywhere.


Hurled upon a rock of the country I adore;
the future ruined; no home, no health to bring me cheer;
you come to me anew, dreams of rose and gold,
of my entire existence the solitary treasure,
convictions of a youth that was healthy and sincere.


No more are you, like once, full of fire and life,
offering a thousand crowns to immortality;
somewhat serious I find you; and yet your face beloved,
if now no longer as merry, if now no longer as vivid,
now bear the superscription of fidelity.


You offer me, O illusions, the cup of consolation;
you come to reawaken the years of youthful mirth;
hurricane, I thank you; winds of heaven, I thank you
that in good hour suspended by uncertain flight
to bring me down to the bosom of my native earth.


Beside a spacious beach of fine and delicate sand
and at the foot of a mountain greener than a leaf,
I found in my land a refuge under a pleasant orchard,
and in its shadowy forests, serene tranquility,
repose to my intellect and silence to my grief.

References

  • Poesias por Jose Rizal, National Historical Commission of the Philippines, T.M. Kalaw St., Ermita, Manila, 2011
  • Jose Rizal, Mga Tula, National Historical Commission of the Philippines, T.M. Kalaw St., Ermita, Manila, 2011
  • Jose Rizal, Poems, National Historical Commission of the Philippines, T.M. Kalaw St., Ermita, Manila, 2011
  • Zaide, Gregorio F & Zaide, Sonia M., Jose Rizal : Life, Works and Writings of a Genius, Writer, Scientist and National Hero, All Nations Publishing, Aurora Blvd., Quezon City, Centennial Edition, 1999

External Links

  • The Life and Works of Dr. Jose Rizal [1] (Accessed 21 July 2011)
  • Poems of Rizal atbp [2] (Accessed 21 July 2011)