León Felipe: I know all the tales

León Felipe is one of the best poets in Spanish language. Born in Zamora in 1884, he came to poetry at the age of 31. He also translated the work of Walt Whitman to Spanish. His poetry work has a well defined themes and symbols: as themes, there always present a great worry about justice, inside a kind of anarchyst thinking, and a great affinity with the humble people. These themes make that León Felipe colaborates in the intllectual front of the Spanish Republic during the Civil War, although he was in America. As symbols, he adopted two well specifically: don Quixote and Christ, he makes both be in one under the idea of universal justice. After war, he makes a hard resistance against Franco’s regime through his poetry from his stance at Mexico, where he died in 1968. During the Regime’s years, the Spanish youth took his poems, instead they were prohibited some time, as a symbol of resistance, and a lot of songwritters and folk-groups, as Paco Ibáñez, Adolfo Celdrán or Aguaviva, made songs with some of his best poems.


Yo no sé muchas cosas, es verdad.
Digo tan sólo lo que he visto.
Y he visto:
que la cuna del hombre la mecen con cuentos,
que los gritos de angustia del hombre los ahogan con
que el llanto del hombre lo taponan con cuentos,
que los huesos del hombre los entierran con cuentos,
y que el miedo del hombre…
ha inventado todos los cuentos.
Yo no sé muchas cosas, es verdad,
pero me han dormido con todos los cuentos…
y sé todos los cuentos.

I don’t know much things, that’s true./ I’m jus saying what I’ve seen./ And I’ve seen:/ that the cradle of man they rock with tales,/ that the anguish shouts of man they drown with/ tales,/ that the crying of man they block with tales,/ that the bones of man they bury with tales,/ and that the fear of man…/ has invented all the tales./ I don’t know much things, that’s true,/ but they’ve sleepen me with all the tales…/ and I know all the tales.

León Felipe

Aguaviva (Livingwater) was a great Spanish folk-pop of the last 60’s. Discobered by ex-songwritter and producer, Manolo Díaz, who also compossed most of their music, they sung poems of Rafael Alberti, León Felipe, García Lorca… With music of their producer Manolo Díaz, made a song with this León Felipe’s great poem:

Aguaviva’s webpage: Aguaviva

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by evin on 13 octubre, 2007 at 8:30

     I am translating this page into Turkish…Who translated it from Spanish? I have to add the name of translator… It is a good poem

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