Gracias a la Vida

Mercedes Sosa singing Violeta Parra‘s Gracias a la Vida

Here is the lyric, and my rough translation.

Gracias A La Vida
(Violeta Parra)

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto.
Me dio dos luceros, que cuando los abro,
Perfecto distingo lo negro del blanco
Y en el alto cielo su fondo estrellado
Y en las multitudes el hombre que yo amo.

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto.
Me ha dado el oído que en todo su ancho
Graba noche y día, grillos y canarios,
Martillos, turbinas, ladridos, chubascos,
Y la voz tan tierna de mi bien amado.

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto.
Me ha dado el sonido y el abecedario;
Con á las palabras que pienso y declaro:
Madre, amigo, hermano, y luz alumbrando
La ruta del alma del que estoy amando.

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto.
Me ha dado la marcha de mis pies cansados;
Con ellos anduve ciudades y charcos,
Playas y desiertos, montaÃnas y llanos,
Y la casa tuya, tu calle y tu patio.

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto.
Me dio el corazón que agita su marco
Cuando miro el fruto del cerebro humano,
Cuando miro al bueno tan lejos del malo,
Cuando miro al fondo de tus ojos claros.

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto.
Me ha dado la risa y me ha dado el llanto.
Así yo distingo dicha de quebranto,
Los dos materiales que forman mi canto,
Y el canto de ustedes que es mi mismo canto,
Y el canto de todos que es mi propio canto.
Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto.

Thanks to Life

(Violeta Parra)

Thanks to life, that has given me so much.
It gave me two orbs, and when I open them,
I can perfectly distinguish black from white
And the starry expanse of the sky above
And in the multitude, the man I love.

Thanks to life, that has given me so much.
It has given me sound, to hear its greatness
The record of hammers, turbines, barking, showers,
Crickets and canaries, night and day,
And the tender words my beloved will say.

Thanks to life, that has given me so much.
It has given me sound and the alphabet;
With all the words that I think and pronounce:
Mother, friend, brother, and light illuminating
And the route of the soul of the one I am loving.

Thanks to life, that has given me so much.
It has given me the march of my tired feet;
That walk me through these cities, these pools,
Mountains, broad beaches and deserts below,
And your house, your street and your patio.

Thanks to life, that has given me so much.
It gave me a heart that pounds in its cage
When I look at the fruits of the human mind,
When I look at how far apart are the evil and the wise,
When I look deep into your clear eyes.

Thanks to life, that has given me so much.
It has given me laughter and it has given me weeping.
That’s how I distinguish happiness from sorrow,
The two materials that form my song,
And the song of all of you, which is the same song,
And the song of everything, which is my own song.
Thanks to life, that has given me so much.

To hear Violeta Parra’s ethereal voice singing this song, check out this slideshow tribute.


~ by lolarusa on January 19, 2007.

4 Responses to “Gracias a la Vida”

  1. Thanks for your visit to my photos !

    This is a great video and song ! I love it !

  2. That is the worst translation I ever read…
    Next time ask someone who speaks English how to translate..
    Dont ruin a great song..

  3. Hi Daniel,

    I’m not used to such direct and personal criticism. This isn’t that kind of blog. The idea of this rough translation was just to give readers who don’t speak Spanish an idea of what the lyrics mean.

    But I welcome the feedback. How would you translate the poem?

  4. Thanks, that translation works for me. It is such a beautiful sounding song I am glad to see there is real meaning there.

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