Music by: Mariano Mores
Lyrics by: Enrique Santos Discepolo
Translated by: Ramon Penalva
A "cafetín" was a small tavern, in the first half of this century. It was the place where the younger and older generations met and developed a tight relationship. Youngsters could learn all those lessons not taught at home and a kind of dismal philosophy about life. All this changed during and after the '60's and those places slowly disappeared from the urban scene.
First stanza: A "cafetín" was a males only place so it was off limits to women and children. The author remembers when as a child he thought it never would come the time when he could get in. It mentions a melancholic sentiment equating the cold of the window pane with his actual feelings and recognize the "cafetín" as the teacher of several things, good and bad, that helped him to grow up.
Second stanza: Now there is a claim of not forgetting this place which was so much alike his mother, a perpetual harbor from all pains and dangers of the world. Then a description of the strange mix of customers and what he learned from them.
Third stanza: Finally he remembers the bunch of buddies he found between those walls and recalls several of them, falling again in a melancholic mood bringing to memory some sad moments in life and his final sense of failure.
Version en castellano
|De chiquilín te miraba de afuera (1) |
como a esas cosas que nunca se alcanzan,
la ñata contra el vidrio, (2)
en un azul de frío
que sólo fue después viviendo
igual que el mío.
Como una escuela de todas las cosas,
ya de muchacho me diste entre asombro
la fe de mis sueños
y una esperanza de amor.
¿Cómo olvidarte en esta queja,
Me diste en oro un puñado de amigos,
|In my childhood I stared at you |
as those things I would never possess
the nose against your window
in an iced blue feeling
that only later, living,
was the same in my soul.
As a school that teaches all things,
in my youth you gave me in wonder
a good smoke...
a faith in my dreams
and a hope for love.
How can I forget you in my lament
You gave me in gold a fistful of friends
(1) Chiquilín (diminutive) from "Chico" = small boy, kid
(2) Ñata (f) (colloquial) from "Ñato"(m): pug-nosed or flat-nosed = the nose.
(3) Vieja (coll) literal: old woman = mother
(4) Timba (coll) = the action of playing games for money