Translations from the Spanish

(latest additions, 18/11/16)

Three Things (16th Century - 2016)

Three Things

after Tres Cosas by Baltasar del Alcázar (Andalucia, 1530-1606)

Three things alone there are that please
and spur me to love's orison:
my darling Zoe, good jamón,
and aubergines with cheese.

This Zoe, readers, 'twas for sure
who held me in such thrall,
that made me shrink from all
those things that were not her.
I spent three senseless years of ease,
till, just before she 'let me go',
she served jamón iberico
and aubergines with cheese.

To Zoe the palm, the crown, the prize;
the name and voice melodious —
but comparisons are odious
and trite to my sad eyes.
Taste, vision, meaning, all of these —
I find no clear distinctión
between sweet Zoe and jamón,
and aubergines with cheese.

Oft Zoe would wax lyrical,
about the jamón Aracene,
tetilla cheese and aubergine
an old-time Spanish miracle.
And so the wise man clearly sees,
when judging free from passión,
these things are one, Zoe, jamón,
and aubergines with cheese.

At least if now she sees my favours
bestowed on these delights
sweet Zoe might then spend her nights
competing with these flavours.
I hope it brings her no unease
to see just how content I am
with plates of pata negra ham
and aubergines with cheese.

if you're interested in the recipe, you simmer sliced aubergine (eggplant) in a little light stock with a few slivers of onion.
Lightly toast a few blanched almonds and put them in a blender with enough of the stock to make a runny paste.
Arrange the aubergine and onion in a dish, pour over the paste and cover with slices of meltable cheese.
Season, top with a little grated nutmeg and a layer of grated parmesan, and bake in a 180°C oven for 20 mins.