Què sé jo si aquest monyóde poema, que t'ofreixo,
fa molta angúnia. Quan penso
en el espessos emparrats
de raïms que són peus i mans
de cera bruta, que s'enfilen
per les parets de les ermites,
em trasbalso, i m'agafa por
que sigui un ex-vot llefiscós
el que et vull donar per poema.
I ja no té remei, Helena.
Ara que el cop es veu fallat,
deixa'm que n'acani l'allarg.
Arribaré, amb els tres que em manquen,
al vers mil tres-cents trenta-quatre.
Me'n queda un per dir-te adéu:
barca nova, tingues bon vent.
I first saw this poem on the train in Madrid, as part of Libros a la calle, and it has stayed with me since. There were parts of it I couldn't figure out - 1334 verses? The cop (blow)? - until I realised it was part of a much longer poem, which I'll read soon enough.
I don't read Catalan yet, though I can figure bits of it out like most Spanish speakers can. Using the Spanish translation I was able to figure most of the Catalan out, but here I've decided not to post the Spanish translation since I assume most readers will be mainly English-speakers and the original language is Catalan anyway. If you're interested, you can check out the Spanish translation here.
I'll hazard an English translation - not that this translation pretends to be in any way definitive or even good, it's just so you can enjoy it a little too:
How will I know if this stump1
of a poem that I offer you
will cause anguish. When I think
Of the thick vines
entwined, feet and hands
of dirty wax, crowding
the walls of chapels,
I am unsettled, and afraid
that it is a greasy ex voto
that I give you as a poem.
And now there is no escape, Helena.
Now that the coup has failed (?),
let me tell the verses of my story.
I will arrive, with the three I add,
at verse one thousand three hundred and thirty four.
To bid you farewell, I have one verse left:
New ship, may you find good wind.
(If you read the Spanish translation, you'll realise how much I was working off it as opposed to the Catalan. I really should learn Catalan.)
As with any translation, parts of it feel off or not quite there - "greasy" sticks out, and I really am not too sure how to translate el cop es veu fallat. In the Spanish it's fallé el golpe, which is also problematic in some ways - it translates as "I missed the coup" or "I failed [to pull off] the coup", sort of - I think! I don't know enough Catalan to untangle why the veu is there. (Help is welcome!)
Edit: A year and some Catalan lessons later, I get it now. "Es" is the third-person reflexive pronoun, not the third-person present form of "ser" (which is "es" in Spanish, but "és" in Catalan). Translated directly into Spanish, it is "el golpe se vio fallado".
I think that's all I have to add for now - probably all I should add, at the risk of making a fool of myself commenting on a language I don't yet speak!