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While we are vacationing in Palm Desert, we are listening to Cicadae on trees. Cicadae generally come out for 2-3 weeks in the summer (after 2-3 years of hibernation), shed their exoskeleton and shrill incessantly to attract females, before dying. Their sound is very loud here and it soulds like a buzzing that comes from electring wiring gone bad.

So I learned a lot about Cicada today (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cicada). The section on symbolism will interest poets. Especially this section about Aesop’s fables:

The cicada has represented insouciance (i.e. nonchalance or indifference) since classical antiquity. Jean de La Fontaine began his collection of fables Les fables de La Fontaine with the story La Cigale et la Fourmi (The Cicada and the Ant) based on one of Aesop’s fables: in it the cicada spends the summer singing while the ant stores away food, and finds herself without food when the weather turns bitter.[25]

So I am listening to La Cigarra (The Cicada), a Mexican folk song about how a Cicada dies singing. The lyrics in Spanish are below, followed by an English translation. Its a “huapango” was written by Ray Pérez y Soto.

La Cigarra Lyrics
written by Ray Pérez y Soto

Ya no me cantes cigarra
Que acabe tu sonsonete
Que tu canto aquí en el alma
Como un puñal se me mete
Sabiendo que cuando cantas
Pregonado vas tu muerte.

Marinero marinero
Dime si es verdad que sabas
Porque distinguir no puedo
Si en el fondo de los mares
Hay otro color más negro
Que el color de mis pesares.

Ay-la-la-laaa …

Hay otro color más negro
Que el color de mis pesares.

Un palomito al volar
Que llevaba el pecho herido
Ya casi para llorar
Me dijo muy afligido.
Ya me canso de buscar
Un amor correspondido.

Bajo la sombra de un árbol
Y al compás de mi guitarra
Canto alegre este huapango
Porque la vida se acaba
Y quiero morir cantando
Como muere la cigarra.

Ay-la-eee …

Y quiero morir cantando
Como muere la cigarra.

English Translation
The Cicada

Don’t sing to me anymore, cicada
Let your singsong end
For your song, here in the soul
Stabs me like a dagger
Knowing that when you sing
You are proclaiming that you are
going to your death

Sailor, sailor
Tell me if it is true that you know
Because I cannot distinguish
If in the depth of the seas
There is another color blacker
Than the color of my sorrows.

Ay-la-eee …

Ay-la-la-laaa …

Ay-la-la-laaa …

There is another color blacker
Than the color of my sorrows.

A little dove upon flying
Bearing a wounded breast
Was about to cry
And told me very afflicted
I’m tired of searching for
A mutual love.

Under the shade of a tree
And to the beat of my guitar
I sing this “huapango” happily
Because my life is ending
And I want to die singing
Like the cicada dies.

Ay-la-eee …

Ay-la-la-laaa …

Ay-la-la-laaa …

And I want to die singing
Like the cicada dies.

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