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Norwegian Made Me Cry This Week, and I’m So Happy About It

Norwegian made me cry by announcing Rosalía de Castro, as the latest tail fin hero this week. Rosalía is a treasure of Gallego culture, and she is godmother to my soul.

Rosalia de Castro (Santiago de Compostela, 1837 – Padrón, La Coruña, 1885) is regarded as an indispensable writer in the literary scene of the nineteenth century. She embodied the Gallego ‘Renaissance’, writing both in Castilian and in the rich language of Gallego, which had for years been robbed of its legitimacy. It was sadly robbed of legitimacy again during Franco’s regime because tyrants hate culture, even their own. (Franco was Gallego).

By choosing to write in her native language, as well as in Castilian, and because of her exceptional talent writing in both, Rosalía de Castro brought prestige back to the Gallego culture both at home and in the diaspora.

We have a word, “morriña” which describes the homesick feeling of our outcast people, neither here nor there, pulled by the tides to strange shores, leaving tears in clear streams and the heart in dark soil and rich green forests.

Rosalía’s writing sings “morriña” in dulcet tones. Her writing is important to her people but it also modern and relevant to the world, expressing a mix of joy and grief that any human can relate to.

Rosalía empathised with the poor and helpless. She was an ardent feminist and a fervent opponent of authoritarianism.

In short, Rosalía is a hero beyond her time—a dangerous woman—modern.

The matriarch of Galician literature will grace a Norwegian 737-800 aircraft.

And she might have found this funny and she might have found this odd and she might have found this beautiful and she might have flown abroad, but in the skies she would have dreamed of the seas and in the seas she would have dreamt of returning to the clouds and she might have flown often but she would often have flown home.

Dicen que no hablan las plantas

by Rosalía de Castro

Dicen que no hablan las plantas, ni las fuentes, ni los pájaros,
Ni el onda con sus rumores, ni con su brillo los astros,
Lo dicen, pero no es cierto, pues siempre cuando yo paso,
De mí murmuran y exclaman:
—Ahí va la loca soñando
Con la eterna primavera de la vida y de los campos,
Y ya bien pronto, bien pronto, tendrá los cabellos canos,
Y ve temblando, aterida, que cubre la escarcha el prado.

—Hay canas en mi cabeza, hay en los prados escarcha,
Mas yo prosigo soñando, pobre, incurable sonámbula,
Con la eterna primavera de la vida que se apaga
Y la perenne frescura de los campos y las almas,
Aunque los unos se agostan y aunque las otras se abrasan.

Astros y fuentes y flores, no murmuréis de mis sueños,
Sin ellos, ¿cómo admiraros ni cómo vivir sin ellos?

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