Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Immortality of the Crab

Inmortalidad del cangrejo
por Miguel de Unamuno

El más profundo problema:
el de la inmortalidad
del cangrejo, que tiene alma,
Una almita de verdad...

Que si el cangrejo se muere
todo en su totalidad
con él nos morimos todos
por toda la eternidad.

In English, although you could probably work out most of it even if you don't know Spanish:

Immortality of the Crab
by Miguel de Unamuno

The most profound problem:
that of the immortality
of the crab, which has soul,
a little soul, in truth...

That if the crab dies
wholly in its totality
with it we all die
for all eternity.

'Thinking of the immortality of the crab' is a Spanish idiom that is used to describe times when one is thinking distractedly or daydreaming. So if you were thinking about nothing particularly relevant and someone asked what you were doing, you might say, "Oh, nothing, just thinking of the immortality of the crab." Presumably, of course, this is because the immortality of the crab is not a very practical matter, so it covers all the things you might be thinking that aren't very practical or useful or interesting or worth taking the trouble to communicate to someone. Ah, says Unamuno, turning his Spanish existentialist eye to you, but perhaps the immortality of the crab is really crucially important after all....

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