A Lesson Too Late In The Learning:
Write It or Regret It


Recently, at the California Writers Club, a fellow poet and guest speaker, Deborah Edler Brown, advised:

“At the moment of inspiration, record it. Don’t wait! For it’s like babies lost you can never retrieve if you don’t record your inspiration when it comes.”

If only I’d realized that wisdom twenty years ago while I was teaching bilingual education. I so wished I had a good English translation of the Spanish folk song, De Colores, but I didn’t have time to work one out.

Besides, in translating from one language to another, it’s difficult to retain a song’s lyrical lilt and rhyme while retaining its same music and rhythm.

Luckily for me, one morning I awoke and saw above me a beautiful English translation of this song! But I had to do pressing chores.

By the time I sat down to record the lyrics, to my dismay, around one-third of those inspired words had disappeared from my memory forever.

Fortunately, being a lyricist, I was able to fill in words and lines to replace those lost. Unfortunately, they’re not as gratifying nor satisfying as the inspired version; but better than other translations I’ve found.

Here’s the 16th-century Spanish traditional song, “De Colores,” followed by my inspired take-off, Painted Spring:


De Colores
De colores, de colores se visten
Los campos en la primavera;
De colores, de colores son

Los pajaritos que vienen de afuera;
De colores, de colores es
El arco iris que viene lucir.

Y por eso los grandes amores
De mucho colores me gusta a mi.
Y por eso los grandes amores
De mucho colores
Me gustan a mi. 

2- Canta el gallo, canta el gallo con
El quiri-quiri-quiri-quiri-quiri,
La gallina, la gallina con el
Los polluelos, los polluelos con
El pio-pio-pio-pio-pi!


* Painted spring
(My inspired “De Colores” take-off)                

1- In the springtime in the valleys
The countryside glistens with pallets of color;
In the springtime in the meadows
The birds fill the air with their beautiful color;
In the springtime comes the arch of the rainbow
And spreads its grand hues from afar!


And this is the reason
I love the spring season:
There’s splendorous color to see —
Yes, this is the reason this beautiful season
Brings such joy and pleasure to me!

2- In the barnyard, in the morning,
The red rooster crows,“How do you do?”
In the hen coop, in the daytime,
The white hens announce every egg that is new;
In the garden, in the sunshine, the yellow chicks
Scratch through the flowers and dew.
(back to chorus)

  • Thanks to my creative cousin Jessica LeBaron for coming up with a perfect title for my song! 🙂

  • * NOTE: Music to “De Colores,” and my take-off from it, can be found under “De Colores” on YouTube.)

6 thoughts on “Poem/song I wrote: “Painted Spring:” Take-off from Spanish Traditional Song “De Colores”

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