On the arrival in Ourense of the first railway engine

by Manuel Curros Enríquez (1851-1908)
Translated by John Rutherford


Look, here she comes, here she comes
past field-ridges and paths and valleys and hills.
Come and see her, lads and lasses!
Come and see her, young and old!

Wherever she passes
she makes the lands fertile,
men awake from their sleep,
fields burst into bloom.

Look, here she comes, here she comes
so lofty, so miraculous, with such a magical step,
that she’s like an Our Lady,
an Our Lady of iron.

Behind her don’t come
priests or clerics,
what does come is plenty
and light! and progress!


Cathedral, stone demagogue
standing in the midst of a fanatical people,
chime those cracked bells of yours
as a sign of happiness and joy.

Unite those tones
with the sound of the tambourines,
and with the holy smiles
of lands and skies!

And you, river of great destines,
rehearsing the hymns of Iberian triumphs:
with her jaws burnt with thirst,
the monster is coming to drink from your depths.

Good Samaritan,
give water to the thirsty,
for the machine is the Christ
of modern times.

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