“El Gavilan Pollero” by Pedro Infante, English translation of lyrics

“El Gavilán Pollero” (The Chicken Hawk) sung by Pedro Infante
Style: Ranchera about a man who lost his favorite hen and is in the bargaining stage of grief. This is a popular Mexican oldie and the title of a film from the golden age of Mexican cinema [YouTube link to the full film].
Country: Mexico
Listen: YouTube

Translation:

[Knocking sounds]

¡Cantinero! ¡Cantinero!

Barman! Barman!

Infeliz gavilán,
Se llevo la polla más linda que tenia en mi gallinero.

Wretched chicken hawk,
He took the most lovely hen I had in my chickenhouse.

Se llevó mi polla el gavilán pollero
La pollita que más quiero.
Que me sirvan otra copa, cantinero.
Sin mi polla yo me muero.

(x2)

The chicken hawk took my hen
The hen I love the most.
Have them pour me another drink, barman.
Without my hen, I die.
(x2)

Gavilán, gavilán, gavilán,
Te llevaste mi polla, gavilán.
Si tu vuelves mi polla para acá,
Yo te doy todito el gallinero.

Chicken hawk, chicken hawk, chicken hawk,
You took my hen, chicken hawk.
If you return my hen to me,
I’ll give you the whole chickenhouse!

(Síganle muchachos)

(Keep it up, guys)

[Musical interlude]

(No se le bajen, que la voy a buscar hasta que la encuentre)

(Don’t get down, because I’m going to look for her until I find her)

Se llevó mi polla el gavilán pollero
La pollita que más quiero.
Que me sirvan otra copa, cantinero.
Sin mi polla yo me muero.

(x2)

The chicken hawk took my hen
The hen I love the most.
Have them pour me another drink, barman.
Without my hen, I die.
(x2)

Gavilán, gavilán, gavilán,
Te llevaste mi polla, gavilán.
Si tu vuelves mi polla para acá,
Yo te doy todito el gallinero.

Chicken hawk, chicken hawk, chicken hawk,
You took my hen, chicken hawk.
If you return my hen to me,
I’ll give you the whole chickenhouse!

Translation Notes:

I originally posted this translation April 25, 2008 at LiveJournal. I updated it to add the spoken parts around the lyrics.


un gavilán = a sparrow hawk; a hawk; in this case, a chicken hawk

un pollo = a chicken

pollero in “gavilán pollero” refers to a hawk with an appetite for chicken; -ero suffix refers to food or appetite

e.g. “Es muy dulcero” = He’s a real sweet tooth (he sure likes candy).


In other cases, -ero suffix can mean “mess”

e.g. “Entré y vi un zapatero” = I walked in and I saw a shoe mess (shoes everywhere!); zapato = shoe


todo = all

todito = all! The diminutive –ito emphasizes “all” by specifying that you really mean all, as in every last bit.


el gallinero = the chickenhouse, the chicken coop


This song can be interpreted as literally about a hen, which is the only way I understood it as a child and how it is intended when you take it out of the context of the movie.

As an adult, I recognize that “hen” and “chickenhawk” have dual meaning, and refer to a woman and a new suitor/competitor/kidnapper. I need to watch the movie for more context. It is unclear, but the line “la voy a buscar hasta que la encuentre” (I am going to look for her until I find her) is not something you would say about a hen taken to be eaten by a literal chickenhawk.

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