Reasons, a Poem by Harkaitz Cano, Translated by Elizabeth Macklin

The New Yorker recently published the poem Reasons, by Basque poet Harkaitz Cano. Actually, they published the translation by Elizabeth Macklin, but on their site you can also find an audio clip of both reading the poem. I’m copying the translated version below. I admit, I’m not much of a poetry reader, not really having read much since forced to in school, but this one resonates with me. And, it was cool to see Elizabeth’s work in The New Yorker. 🙂


By Harkaitz Cano,
translated by Elizabeth Macklin


Because I have nothing to say.
Because, though I’ve got plenty to say, you’re not paying attention.
Because I’d rather listen to what you’re saying.
So as not to talk to myself.
So as not to talk to the wall.
So as not to talk to the crack in the wall.
So as not to waken the cricket who lives in the crack in the wall.
Because they’ve sealed my lips with honey.
Because I’m kissing you.
Because I’m sulking.
Because I’m sulking and I’m kissing you.
Because I like to remain silent.
Because our breath is speaking all on its own.
Because I’m keeping a secret larger than words.
Because my heart is in my mouth.

15 Reasons to Yell

Because you haven’t let out a yell in ages.
To make sure all your vowels are still in their proper places.
Because you’re alone and in desperate need of an echo.
To measure the height of a Gothic cathedral.
To cheer on an Italian cyclist.
To shoo off a grouchy mouse.
So they hear you from the last row of the theatre.
So they hear you from the other side of the creek.
So the fishes caught in the fish trap hear you.
When you’re in water up to your neck, to call for a ring buoy.
To measure the depth of a bottomless well.
To invite the wolves to your birthday party.
So everyone knows that yelling is not so easy.
Because some others are unable to yell.
So that the woods will learn your name.

2 thoughts on “Reasons, a Poem by Harkaitz Cano, Translated by Elizabeth Macklin”

  1. I enjoyed those poems. I too am not usually a reader of poetry but these two I could understand and connect. Thank you, Celeste Zamora Gamboa Povey

What do you think? Leave a Reply!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.