“Flor Pálida” by Marc Anthony, English translation of lyrics

“Pale Flower” Lyrics
Album: 3.0, 2013
Style: Pop, bachata, tropical music. Song about nurturing a flower and blossoming a relationship.
Country: Puerto Rico
Listen: YouTube

Translation:

Hallé una flor
Un día en el camino
Que apareció marchita y deshojada,
Ya casi pálida, ahogada en un suspiro.
Me la llevé a mi jardín para cuidarla
.

I found a flower
One day walking
That appeared, wilted and leafless,
Already almost faded, drowning in a sigh.
I took it to my garden to take care of it.

Aquella flor de pétalos dormidos,
A la que cuido hoy con todo el alma,
Recuperó el color que había perdido
Porque encontró un cuidador que la regara
.

That flower of sleepy petals,
That which I care for today with all my soul,
Recovered the color it had lost
Because it found a guardian that gave it water.

Le fui poniendo un poquito de amor,
La fui abrigando en mi alma,
Y en el invierno le daba calor
Para que no se dañara
.

I started giving it love little by little,
I started covering her with my soul,
And in the winter I gave her warmth
So she wouldn’t be hurt.

De aquella flor hoy el dueño soy yo
Y he prometido cuidarla
Para que nadie le robe el color,
Para que nunca se vaya
.

Of that flower, today I am the owner
And I have promised to care for her
So no one can steal their color,
So she never leaves.

De aquella flor surgieron tantas cosas.
Nació el amor que un día se había perdido
Y con la luz del sol se fue la sombra
Y con la sombra la distancia y el olvido
.

From that flower came so many things.
It gave light to the love that one day had been lost
And with the light of the sun, the shadows left,
And with the shadow, also the distance and oblivion.

Le fui poniendo un poquito de amor,
La fui abrigando en mi alma,
Y en el invierno le daba calor
Para que no se dañara
.

I started giving it love little by little,
I started covering her with my soul,
And in the winter I gave her warmth
So she wouldn’t be hurt.

De aquella flor hoy el dueño soy yo
Y he prometido cuidarla
Para que siempre esté cerca de mí,
Para que nunca se vaya
.

Of that flower, today I am the guardian
And I have promised to care for her
So she always stays near me,
So she never leaves.

Le fui brindando cariño, un poquito de amor (para que nunca se vaya)
Y en el invierno lleno mi jardín de color (para que nunca se vaya)
Ay, cuando la vi, me enamoré y me la llevé, me la llevé.

I continued dedicating her affection, a little love (so she never leaves)
And in the winter she filled my garden with color (so she never leaves)
Ay, when I saw her, I fell in love and I took her with me, I took her with me.

Ave María, Puerto Rico,
Ataca Sergio
,
Hui! Esto sigue…

Hail Mary, Puerto Rico,
Hit it Sergio,
Uy! This continues…

Translation Notes:

Hallé una flor

I found a flower

The flower is a metaphor for a woman. The way that Spanish and English use gendered grammar differently made this metaphor tricky to translate. English uses pronoun “it” for inanimate objects and “she” or “him” for people. In Spanish, all nouns have a grammatical gender but Spanish also allows gender to be vague and unspecified by dropping the pronoun. There were several lines where Marc Anthony begins talking about the flower (it) and then talks about the woman (her). The original lyrics do not require a decision between “it” or “her” so the transition is smoother and sounds more poetic. The metaphor works better because he can talk about the flower and mean the woman, and the lyrics works for either.


This stanza is where I decided to transition from flower (it) to woman (her), but it is only to make the English sound less awkward. In Spanish, there is no transition. Here, “le” and “la” are grammatically gendered to correspond to “el amor” (masculine), “el calor” (masculine), and the object for verb “abrigar” (to cover) which is la (feminine) for both la flor and la mujer.

<Le> fui poniendo [un poquito de amor],
<La> fui abrigando [en mi alma],
Y en el invierno <le> daba [calor]
Para que no <se>
dañara.

Translation:

I started giving <it> [love little by little],
I started covering <her> [with my soul],
And in the winter I gave <her> [warmth]
So <she> wouldn’t be hurt.

Translation, alternative:

I started giving <it> [love little by little],
I started covering <it> [with my soul],
And in the winter I gave <it> [warmth]
So <it> wouldn’t be hurt.

The verbs are:

poner = to put, to place, to add.
I translated as “I started giving…” but it could also be “I went adding/putting…”

abrigar = to wrap up, to keep warm; to shelter, to protect.
The visual metaphor is that of wrapping a blanket or warm coat around a flower.

dar = to give

dañarse = to hurt oneself (but not specifically by one’s own actions)


De aquella flor hoy el dueño soy yo

Of that flower, today I am the guardian

I always feel weird translating Spanish lyrics that say “dueño” (owner) in the context of a romantic relationship because it sounds awkward in English. It has the connotation of “guardian” here and guardian is specifically used earlier (un cuidador), so I translated it that way. In other songs, dueño has the connotation of “boss”. In either case, it’s about taking responsibility for someone else.


Ave María, Puerto Rico,
Ataca Sergio
,
Hui! Esto sigue…

Hail Mary, Puerto Rico,
Hit it Sergio, (Sergio, attack!)
Uy! This continues…

This final bit is an unrelated end-of-the-song outro, expressing faith (hail Mary) and love for Puerto Rico. He is telling his fellow musician Sergio to take over, and then telling the people listening that the party continues.

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