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Post  eddie Tue May 31, 2011 5:09 pm


Precautionary replication of some of the material above before the link to the old ATU site expires:


Augury 459px-Bas_relief_from_Arch_of_Marcus_Aurelius_showing_sacrifice


The augur was a priest and official in the classical world, especially ancient Rome and Etruria. His main role was to interpret the will of the gods by studying the flight of birds: whether they are flying in groups/alone, what noises they make as they fly, direction of flight and what kind of birds they are. This was known as "taking the auspices." The ceremony and function of the augur was central to any major undertaking in Roman society—public or private—including matters of war, commerce, and religion.

The Roman historian Livy stresses the importance of the augurs: "Who does not know that this city was founded only after taking the auspices, that everything in war and in peace, at home and abroad, was done only after taking the auspices?"

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Post  eddie Tue May 31, 2011 5:11 pm

Roman augury observed the birds. Only the flight of certain birds (alites) was noted as signs in augury. These were mainly eagles and vultures. Pliny recognized six kinds of eagles (Natural History X.6-7), the black eagle, hare-eagle, morphos or Homer�s dusky eagle (Iliad XXIV.316), the hawk-eagle or mountain stork that he says is like a vulture, the sea eagle, and what he refers to as the true eagle, being reddish in colour and of medium size. Other alites were the osprey (avis sanqualis or ossifraga) and the immusculus. (Virgil: Aeneid I.394; Livy 1.7, 34; Pliny: Natural History X.7) The other form of augury employed the call of certain birds (oscines). These were mainly owls, ravens, crows, and chickens. Some birds were used for both. Of the call of ravens, Pliny says that the worse message is when they make a plaintive �whine, as though they were being strangled (Natural History X.33).� They were then birds of ill omen (lugubres). Livy mentions at least one instance where the flight of a raven towards a general from his front, and then calling out over him, was taken as a good omen. The Romans regarded an owl (bubo) as an ill omen, unlike the Greeks. Owls were considered by Romans as funerary birds (funebres) who inhabit the night, the dessert, and �inaccessible and awesome� places. �As a result of this,� Pliny says (Natural History X.34), �it is a direful omen whenever seen inside the city or at all in daytime.� Other birds noted for both their calls and observed flights were the picus martius (woodpecker), feronius, and parrha (a type of owl). (Pliny: Natural History X.18; Horace: Carmina III.27.15)

The most important aspect of a sign is the direction from which it comes. Facing south, the flight of birds on the left, and thus in the east, or from the front in the south, is generally regarded as a favorable sign. A bird of omen approaching from the right or from behind is regarded as unfavorable. The same is true for the calls of birds of good omens, but not always. It is regarded a favorable sign if a crow (cornix) calls from the left, while the call of a raven (corvus) is considered favorable if from the right (Plautus: Asin. II.1.12; Cicero: On Divination 1.39). While an owl (noctua) is generally regarded as a bird of ill omen, his call from the left is considered favorable. However in this it is not always that simple. Every sound and motion a bird makes may hold a different significance according to the circumstances in which they occur, and the different times of the year. A good augur will be familiar with the habits of the various birds in his area. He will look for only certain signs, but when something out of the ordinary occurs, even if not by one of the birds specifically used in augury, then he should take note of it. Interpreting the meaning of the signs is based on experience. This is made clear by Cicero who says that divination of any kind depends upon the �frequency of the records� (On divination 1.109-110). The habits of birds and the significance they signaled were recorded in different books and these were consulted when unusual occurrences were seen. Every paterfamilias kept his own books on omens to use when he was called upon to perform private auguries.

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Post  eddie Tue May 31, 2011 5:13 pm

Chesterfield Pagans
Annoying the Daily Mail Since October 2010
Magpie folklore and superstition
7 June 2010 by Amalasuntha

Augury Magpie

The magpie is a common enough sight at the moment, and you’ll probably be able to recall a rhyme regarding groups of these monochrome birds:


One for sorrow

Two for joy

Three for a girl

Four for a boy

Five for young

Six for old

Seven for a secret never to be told

The magpie rhyme has several variations, which version did you learn? I can remember learning this one at school in rural Yorkshire, but I know there are others!

The majority of folklore revolves around the seeing of a single bird, through the British Isles it is generally considered unlucky to view a single magpie, and so steps are taken to ward off such bad luck. In Scotland and Northern Ireland one should salute – and preferably greet the bird or ask after the health of the absent Mrs Magpie, whilst in the majority of England one should wave or doff ones hat (or hoody presumably?…) This is supposed to make the assumption that there are in fact two birds, and thus ward off the bad luck (one for sorrow) and change it into good (two for joy). The assumption seems to be that a lone bird will always be referred to as ‘Mister’, so through this I will refer to a single bird as a male (though I know it’s not forced to be!). In Scotland the sighting of a lone bird near a house window signals an impending death, as the belief is that the bird carries a drop of the devils blood under their tounge. Superstitions in Yorkshire and Sweden suggest a connection with witchcraft and an especially ill omen. From the remoter parts of Yorkshire comes the remedy of flapping your arms as wings and vocally imitating the birds missing partner to avert disaster (though I never have seen anyone actually do it…) . In Devon the tradition is to spit three times to avert bad luck. In German, Italian, French and Norwegian folklore the magpies are often depicted as thieves, in Norway however, they are also considered playful and a bringer of good weather. There are a great deal of folk tales connected with it, such as the Finnish folk tale “Why the Magpie has a Long Tail” regarding a too-talkative magpie that informed a man he would die in 24 hours. God was so annoyed with this brazen behavior that He grabbed the bird by its stubby tail and pulled its tail feathers into their present long slender form, as a reminder of the Magpie’s effronter. There’s also one from Sweden : Salt on a Magpies Tail‘,

Magpies are often referred to as ‘thieving magpies’ in England due to their fancy for shiny objects such as jewellery and coins. So far mostly negative connotations, but in Korea the bird is a sign of inspirational instinct which can tell people that they will have visitors or house guests in the near future. In China, the name translates as ‘happiness magpie’ and to see one is a sign of good luck and fortune. The Manchu people of north-east China even regard the magpie as sacred, as it was a magpie who saved a prince from captors who later went on to found a long-running Chinese dynasty. In England seeing three magpies on the way to a wedding means good luck for the happy couple. The ancient Roman’s viewed the magpie as a creature of high intellect and reasoning powers. The bird is also an attribute of Bacchus, the God of wine. In Native American animal lore, the magpie was also viewed as having intellect. However, more often than not he was faulted for trickery and his intelligence was typically used in deceptive schemes. He cannot be judged too harshly though because his tricks are always played out with a light-hearted, good-natured intention. The high intelligence of these birds has been shown in a recent study, in which magpies were used to test avian self recognition.

The name magpie splits itself into two parts – the last part ‘pie’ comes from ‘pied’ in this case referring to the black and white plumage. The bird was originally known as ‘the pie’ but in the 16th C ‘mag’ meaning chatter, was added to the front making ‘ chatter-pied’ or magpie. Magpies are highly social can mimic other birds, and can be taught to solve puzzles to gain rewards. The collective name for a group of them is a tiding but they have also been known as a parliament. Shakespeare uses an older term for them, maggot-pies. Macbeth refers to the ability of the crow family to be taught to talk: “Augurs and understood relations have/ By maggot-pies and choughs and rooks brought forth/ The secret’st man of blood“. Rossini wrote a tragicomic opera entitled La Gazza Ladra (The Thieving Magpie) about a French girl accused of theft who is tried, convicted and executed. Later the true culprit is revealed to be a magpie and in remorse the town organises an annual ‘Mass Of The Magpies’ to pray for the girl’s soul.

As a totem animal it is known as ‘the cunning prophet‘ , they are associated with divination, prophecy and the symbolism of bridges. They represent risk taking for prestige, and come into our lives to help us use prophecy and instincts to our advantage in ways which are clever or even stealthy. It represents the ability to balance, not only of physical black and white, but the balancing of any strong opposites in your life. The taking of joy in personal change, to let go the old and find the new with confidence and clarity. Intelligence, adaptability and success are all traits of the magpie.

So, negative thief, cunning prophet or good luck omen, it all seems to be down to personal belief and local folklore. I’ll still quietly nod in respect every time I see one on its own.

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Post  eddie Tue May 31, 2011 5:14 pm


From the mysteriousness of owls to finding good luck in an unfortunate feathered mishap, a great deal of animal superstitions involves birds. In this article, you will learn what actions bring good luck and which ones you should avoid like the plague.

Usually, we try our best to avoid the messes that birds make, but around the world (including in Ireland), there is a belief that if a bird "goes to bathroom" on your car, it is good luck. Others believe that the bird droppings must land on your head before it is considered good luck. Additional superstitions associated with birds in general include:

· If a bird flies into your home, you should expect an important message to arrive soon.

· A white bird is seen in some circles as a symbol of impending death.

· When it comes to bird calls, direction matters. A call from the north signifies tragedy, while one from the south means to expect good crops. A call from the west means you will encounter good luck, while one from the east involves positive happenings in the love department.

Other bird superstitions linked to specific species include:

Since some people believe that sparrows carry the souls of the dead, killing one could bring you bad luck.

For centuries, owls have been the subject of a handful of superstitions and beliefs. For instance, during ancient Greek days, the owls were respected for their wise and kind nature. Because of this, they were often seen as a sacred creature to Athena – the goddess of wisdom and learning.

In some cultures, the hoot of an owl brought fear to those who heard it because they believed the sound had the power to bring bad luck. It was a custom to place irons in your fire to counteract the influence of an owl. Other approaches involving adding salt, hot peppers or vinegar to a fire in hopes that the creature would get a sore tongue – making it unable to hoot.

According to an old wives tale, feed roasted owl to a man and he is said to become obedient to his wife or significant other.

The tail of a peacock produces some of the most beautiful feathers, but did you know that the peacock feather is decorating with an 'evil eye' at the end. In a Greek legend, Argus – the monster with 100 eyes was turned into a peacock with all of its eyes being placed on his tail.

Edgar Allen Poe based a famous poem regarding these sleek, black birds. There is a superstition that states the spirit of King Arthur is found in a raven, which is the form he chooses when visiting the world. It is considered bad luck to kill a raven.

If you make a wish on the very first robin that you see during the spring season, it is said to come true. Robins have also been seen as a sign of death in the family if it should enter a home. There have been reported instances where the bird entered a home the day before, the day of, and the day after the death of a family member.

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Post  eddie Tue May 31, 2011 5:15 pm

Birds – Myths and Superstitions About Birds

Bird Traditions and Stories

At this time of year, early summer, the air is full of birdsong and the garden is full of birds flying around to make their nests and feed their chicks. We tend to take the presence of our feathered friends very much for granted, so you may be surprised to find out just how many myths and superstitions there are around the world concerning birds. A lot of these superstitions regard luck; either good luck or bad luck. For example, a bird that flies into your house is supposed to mean that an important message is on its way, and if the flying bird happens to be white it means that there will be a death. As it is good luck that most of us wish for, it is widely regarded as being very lucky if a bird deposits it’s droppings on you, although you might not think so at the time! In my experience, it generally happens when you have got a clean, ironed shirt on and are going somewhere fairly important! Even the direction a bird calls from has a meaning; a bird calling from the north means a tragedy is on the way, from the west brings good luck, from the south means the harvest will be plentiful and from the east that you will find true love.

Ravens in the Tower of London

Ravens have long been associated with the infamous Tower of London. It is believed that if the ravens leave the Tower of London, that the kingdom will fall and disaster will ensue. To this day ravens are kept at the Tower, and their wings are clipped to ensure that they cannot leave. The birds are paid for by the British government and one of the Tower’s beefeaters is appointed as Ravenmaster to care for the birds. The Ravenmaster looks after the raven fledglings in his home for about six weeks to build up a relationship with the growing birds, and when they are fully grown the ravens are comfortably lodged near the Wakefield Tower. The most dangerous period for the ravens in the Tower of London was during the Second World War, when many of them died of shock during the German bombing raids. There was one survivor called Grip, and when the Tower of London reopened to the visitors in 1946 the government of the time ensured that a new generation of ravens had already been installed to reassure the public that the kingdom was safe.


Pelicans are regarded as birds that symbolise self-sacrifice and the love of a parent for their children. Pelicans store food in their pouches and then retrieve the food for their chicks when they return to the nest. This simple action was misinterpreted in times gone past and people believed that the pelican was making the ultimate sacrifice of tearing open its own chest to feed the youngsters on its own blood. There are many variations on the story of a male pelican who’s young have died or been killed, and that after three days of mourning and wailing the father pelican kills himself so that the young pelicans can arise from the dead hale and hearty. These stories were used as allegories during the Middle Ages of the Christ’s passion and suffering, especially of the wound that he suffered when a lance pierced his side. Thomas Aquinas wrote of the ‘Pelican of mercy, Jesu’ and St Gertrude had a vision of Jesus as a pelican feeding the hungry with his blood. It was also thought that pelicans would only eat just enough food to keep themselves alive, so they also became associated with those who fasted and purified themselves for religious reasons. As I have watched pelicans being fed, I can assure you that this last pelican superstition is not true!


Robins with their cheery red breasts adorn many of our Christmas cards and decorations, and there are several stories as to how the robin acquired its red breast feathers. In the Christian tradition, it is thought that a robin tried to remove the thorns from Jesus’ head during the Crucifixion, and that drops of his blood fell onto the bird and stained his breast feathers red forever. In another myth, the robin gained his red breast from flying into the fiery wastes of hell to carry water to the stricken sinners who were suffering there for all eternity. The robin is another bird where it is believed that if they are seen tapping on the window or flying into a room that a member of the household will soon be dead. It is considered to be very unlucky to kill a robin, and if you break a robin’s eggs expect something important of yours to be broken very soon. Make a wish when you see the first robin of the year for good luck, and note that if you see a robin singing in the open that good weather is on its way, but that if the robin is seen sheltering among the branches of a tree that it will soon rain. Also, if the first bird that you see on St Valentine’s Day is a robin, it means that you are destined to marry a sailor!


It is often considered unlucky to bring the beautiful, iridescent feathers of the peacock into a house. This is because of the markings on the end of the feathers that resemble an eye. It was thought that the eyes on the peacock feather was a sign of the ‘evil eye’ and so would bring bad luck and ill fortune into your home. In the theatre it is considered bad luck to have peacock feathers on the stage or comprising part of a costume, prop or scenery. Stories have been told of disasters occurring during a performance, such as scenery falling down, when peacock feathers have been present on the stage.


Doves have always been seen as significant religious and spiritual symbols, and it is believed that the dove is the one bird that the Devil cannot change himself into and the one bird that is immune to the Devil’s curses. The dove is the Christian symbol for the Holy Spirit and nowadays is regarded as a symbol of international peace. Doves are very much associated with lovers and some couples have white doves released when they celebrate their weddings. This maybe is because doves are supposed to mate for life and be devoted to each other. Doves were regarded as the messengers of the Roman goddess of love Venus, and Indians regard killing a dove as unlucky, as doves are thought to hold within themselves the soul of a lover. Having a dove flying around or tapping on the windows of a house that contains a sick person is seen as sign that the sick person will shortly die, and miners regard seeing a dove near their mineshaft as an omen that there will be danger if they descend into the mine.


It used to be believed that magpies were the Devil in disguise, and that if you saw a lone magpie around your home it meant that the Devil was trying to stir up trouble for you. To ward off this trouble, you had to say ‘Good Morning Mr Magpie, how is your wife today?’ as this showed the Devil that you had recognised him, and then he was not able to cause any mischief. Or another way to banish the evil demon if you spot a solitary magpie is to doff your hat and cross your fingers. Seeing groups of magpies is said to divine the future and inspired the rhyme ‘One for Sorrow, Two for Joy, Three for a Girl, Four for a Boy, Five for Silver, Six for Gold, Seven for a Secret that is Never to be Told’.


If you see two male blackbirds perching next to each other this means good luck, and if blackbirds nest near your house you will be lucky enough to look forward to a whole year of good fortune. Blackbirds are also regarded as the messengers of those who have died.


Sailors used to believe that if an albatross flew around their ship while it was in the middle of its voyage, that this was a portent of bad weather and windy conditions to come. It was considered to be very bad luck to kill an albatross, as sailors used to think that albatrosses were really the souls of departed mariners that were still restlessly flying over the waves. In 1959, the presence on board the cargo ship Calpean Star of a caged albatross destined for a zoo was blamed for the misfortunes that the ship had experienced on it voyage from the Antarctic. Many of the crew staged a strike because they felt that it was too risky and unlucky to continue the voyage, and on the Calpean Star’s return voyage to the Antarctic, she foundered off South Georgia after suffering engine failure. The ship was towed into Montevideo for repairs, but as she was setting off to resume her voyage, the Calpean Star sank on the River Plate. So was the poor old albatross to blame for the fate of the Calpean Star, by bringing bad luck? Some sailors obviously did not believe in the albatrosses’ bringing bad luck if they killed them, as they used to use the feet of the albatross to make tobacco pouches!

So the next time that you hear a bird singing in your garden or tapping at the window, maybe you should check out what breed of bird it is. There is no doubt that these myths and superstitions surrounding birds used to be widely believed, but will you take off your hat and cross your fingers the next time that you see a magpie?

Copyright 2010 CMHypno on HubPages

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Post  Constance Tue May 31, 2011 11:10 pm

The robin is my favorite bird. One of my happiest days of the year is the day during the last week of March when I see the first returning robin from migration. They seem to return on almost the same day every year.
This year I didn't see one until almost the second week of April.

A sad bird story: Reluctantly, I am relinquishing one of my parrots to a parrot sanctuary. The fateful day is Tuesday. He is not happy here. He is agressive toward my dog. I will be very sad on Tuesday, but it's for the best.


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Post  Guest Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:23 pm

Auguries of Innocence
William Blake (1803)

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.
A robin redbreast in a cage
Puts all heaven in a rage.
A dove-house filled with doves and pigeons
Shudders hell through all its regions.
A dog starved at his master's gate
Predicts the ruin of the state.
A horse misused upon the road
Calls to heaven for human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted hare
A fibre from the brain does tear.
A skylark wounded in the wing,
A cherubim does cease to sing.
The game-cock clipped and armed for fight
Does the rising sun affright.
Every wolf's and lion's howl
Raises from hell a human soul.
The wild deer wandering here and there
Keeps the human soul from care.
The lamb misused breeds public strife,
And yet forgives the butcher's knife.
The bat that flits at close of eve
Has left the brain that won't believe.
The owl that calls upon the night
Speaks the unbeliever's fright.
He who shall hurt the little wren
Shall never be beloved by men.
He who the ox to wrath has moved
Shall never be by woman loved.
The wanton boy that kills the fly
Shall feel the spider's enmity.
He who torments the chafer's sprite
Weaves a bower in endless night.
The caterpillar on the leaf
Repeats to thee thy mother's grief.
Kill not the moth nor butterfly,
For the Last Judgment draweth nigh.
He who shall train the horse to war
Shall never pass the polar bar.
The beggar's dog and widow's cat,
Feed them, and thou wilt grow fat.
The gnat that sings his summer's song
Poison gets from Slander's tongue.
The poison of the snake and newt
Is the sweat of Envy's foot.
The poison of the honey-bee
Is the artist's jealousy.
The prince's robes and beggar's rags
Are toadstools on the miser's bags.
A truth that's told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.
It is right it should be so:
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know
Through the world we safely go.
Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
The babe is more than swaddling bands,
Throughout all these human lands;
Tools were made and born were hands,
Every farmer understands.
Every tear from every eye
Becomes a babe in eternity;
This is caught by females bright
And returned to its own delight.
The bleat, the bark, bellow, and roar
Are waves that beat on heaven's shore.
The babe that weeps the rod beneath
Writes Revenge! in realms of death.
The beggar's rags fluttering in air
Does to rags the heavens tear.
The soldier armed with sword and gun
Palsied strikes the summer's sun.
The poor man's farthing is worth more
Than all the gold on Afric's shore.
One mite wrung from the labourer's hands
Shall buy and sell the miser's lands,
Or if protected from on high
Does that whole nation sell and buy.
He who mocks the infant's faith
Shall be mocked in age and death.
He who shall teach the child to doubt
The rotting grave shall ne'er get out.
He who respects the infant's faith
Triumphs over hell and death.
The child's toys and the old man's reasons
Are the fruits of the two seasons.
The questioner who sits so sly
Shall never know how to reply.
He who replies to words of doubt
Doth put the light of knowledge out.
The strongest poison ever known
Came from Caesar's laurel crown.
Nought can deform the human race
Like to the armour's iron brace.
When gold and gems adorn the plough
To peaceful arts shall Envy bow.
A riddle or the cricket's cry
Is to doubt a fit reply.
The emmet's inch and eagle's mile
Make lame philosophy to smile.
He who doubts from what he sees
Will ne'er believe, do what you please.
If the sun and moon should doubt,
They'd immediately go out.
To be in a passion you good may do,
But no good if a passion is in you.
The whore and gambler, by the state
Licensed, build that nation's fate.
The harlot's cry from street to street
Shall weave old England's winding sheet.
The winner's shout, the loser's curse,
Dance before dead England's hearse.
Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born.
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.
Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.
We are led to believe a lie
When we see not through the eye
Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in beams of light.
God appears, and God is light
To those poor souls who dwell in night,
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day.


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Post  Guest Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:50 pm

I'm not using the tawny-frogmouth as an avatar any more. Poor Froggy-the-bird died Crying or Very sad

Bird Symbolism:
The Swallow
Augury 220px-Whiteswallowclipper
“Tattoos are very important to sailor culture. Sailors played an important role in popularising tattoos in the Western World by bringing them back from voyages to the South Pacific, beginning a long tradition of mariners & tattoos. Many sailors’ tattoos have particular meanings, relating to specific events in sailors’ lives, common superstitions or religious beliefs, or reminders of home. Over the course of a marine career, a sailor could literally mark his history on his body.” “SWALLOWS are important maritime tattoo symbols. The birds are known both for migrating long distances and returning to the same areas every year. Thus, a swallow tattoo means both the completion of a 5000 nautical mile voyage, and the hope of a safe return home. Swallows were commonly tattooed facing one another on the chest, one when 5000 miles has been completed, and another when 10 000 miles had been completed”.

The Stork
Augury Stork
“In Western culture the White Stork is a symbol of childbirth. In the 19th century details of human reproduction were difficult to deal with, especially in reply to a child's query of "Where did I come from?" The answer "The stork brought you to us" was often given as a way to avoid the discussion of sex. This habit was derived from the once popular superstition that storks were the harbingers of happiness and prosperity, and possibly from the habit of some storks of nesting atop chimneys, down which the new baby could be imagined as entering the house”.


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Post  blue moon Sun Dec 07, 2014 10:25 pm

eddie. If you still vist here. You have no ideA how much I miss your posts.
blue moon
blue moon

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Post  Guest Tue Jan 13, 2015 12:12 am

Superstición... / Superstition...
siempre soñar, nunca creer.. / always to dream, never believe...
eso es lo que mata tu amor / that's what kills your love
siempre desear, nunca tener... / always to wish, never to have...
eso es lo que mata tu amor / that's what kills your love
lo mismo da morir y amar... / it makes no difference to die and love

Superstición... / Superstition...
siempre temblar, nunca crecer... / always to treble, never to grow...
eso es lo que mata tu amor / that's what kills your love
siempre llorar, nunca reír... / always to cry, never to laugh...
eso es lo que mata tu amor / that's what kills your love
lo mismo da morir y amar... / it makes no difference to die and love

Y cuando te das cuenta, / ...and when you realize
que es tu amigo quien te da la mano, / it's your friend who holds your hand
entonces para vos ya no existe / then for you it exists
el miedo, ni el dolor ni el frío... / no fear, no pain or cold...
estás cómodo con él en tu casa, / you're easy with him at home,
y solo ves las estrellas, / and you just see the stars,
la espuma, / and the foam,
y no haces más nada, / and make nothing more,
porque crees, / since you believe
que ahora ya no estás más solo.../ you're not alone anymore...
si te dieras al menos un porque.../ if you could have at least "an explanation"...


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