Amado Nervo: Poems of Faith and Doubt
Translated by John Gallas
Amado Nervo (1870–1919) was a Mexican poet generally considered the most distinguished exponent of the literary movement known as Modernismo. Although he intended to become a priest, he abandoned his studies in 1888 and turned first to journalism and then the diplomatic service, becoming Mexican Ambassador to Argentina and Uruguay in 1918. His poetic and literary works have been collected in twenty-nine volumes.
This translation by the award-winning Aotearoan poet John Gallas has sought to reproduce the plain, rhymed forms of Nervo’s poems to convey the direct, yet complex, ideas of faith and doubt of the original texts. Nervo believed each of his poems—a prayer, an expression of comfort, praise or questioning—to be an act of love: the job of the translator is to hand on, undimmed, that belief to the reader.
‘Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones’ (Proverbs 16:24).