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Double-click on ANY english word to find out the meaning or to translate. Haga doble click en cualquier palabra en Inglés para saber su significado o para traducir.

I SING the Body Electric

I SING the Body electric;
The armies of those I love engirth me, and I engirth them;
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the Soul.
Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal themselves; 5
And if those who defile the living are as bad as they who defile the dead?
And if the body does not do as much as the Soul?
And if the body were not the Soul, what is the Soul?

The love of the Body of man or woman balks account—the body itself balks account;
That of the male is perfect, and that of the female is perfect. 10
The expression of the face balks account;
But the expression of a well-made man appears not only in his face;
It is in his limbs and joints also, it is curiously in the joints of his hips and wrists;
It is in his walk, the carriage of his neck, the flex of his waist and knees—dress does not hide him;
The strong, sweet, supple quality he has, strikes through the cotton and flannel; 15
To see him pass conveys as much as the best poem, perhaps more;
You linger to see his back, and the back of his neck and shoulder-side.
The sprawl and fulness of babes, the bosoms and heads of women, the folds of their dress, their style as we pass in the street, the contour of their shape downwards,
The swimmer naked in the swimming-bath, seen as he swims through the transparent green-shine, or lies with his face up, and rolls silently to and fro in the heave of the water,
The bending forward and backward of rowers in row-boats—the horseman in his saddle, 20
Girls, mothers, house-keepers, in all their performances,
The group of laborers seated at noon-time with their open dinner-kettles, and their wives waiting,
The female soothing a child—the farmer’s daughter in the garden or cow-yard,
The young fellow hoeing corn—the sleigh-driver guiding his six horses through the crowd,
The wrestle of wrestlers, two apprentice-boys, quite grown, lusty, good-natured, native-born, out on the vacant lot at sundown, after work, 25
The coats and caps thrown down, the embrace of love and resistance,
The upper-hold and the under-hold, the hair rumpled over and blinding the eyes;
The march of firemen in their own costumes, the play of masculine muscle through clean-setting trowsers and waist-straps,
The slow return from the fire, the pause when the bell strikes suddenly again, and the listening on the alert,
The natural, perfect, varied attitudes—the bent head, the curv’d neck, and the counting; 30
Such-like I love—I loosen myself, pass freely, am at the mother’s breast with the little child,
Swim with the swimmers, wrestle with wrestlers, march in line with the firemen, and pause, listen, and count.

I know a man, a common farmer—the father of five sons;
And in them were the fathers of sons—and in them were the fathers of sons.
This man was of wonderful vigor, calmness, beauty of person; 35
The shape of his head, the pale yellow and white of his hair and beard, and the immeasurable meaning of his black eyes—the richness and breadth of his manners,
These I used to go and visit him to see—he was wise also;
He was six feet tall, he was over eighty years old—his sons were massive, clean, bearded, tan-faced, handsome;
They and his daughters loved him—all who saw him loved him;
They did not love him by allowance—they loved him with personal love; 40
He drank water only—the blood show’d like scarlet through the clear-brown skin of his face;
He was a frequent gunner and fisher—he sail’d his boat himself—he had a fine one presented to him by a ship-joiner—he had fowling-pieces, presented to him by men that loved him;
When he went with his five sons and many grand-sons to hunt or fish, you would pick him out as the most beautiful and vigorous of the gang.
You would wish long and long to be with him—you would wish to sit by him in the boat, that you and he might touch each other.

I have perceiv’d that to be with those I like is enough, 45
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough,
To pass among them, or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly round his or her neck for a moment—what is this, then?
I do not ask any more delight—I swim in it, as in a sea.
There is something in staying close to men and women, and looking on them, and in the contact and odor of them, that pleases the soul well; 50
All things please the soul—but these please the soul well.

This is the female form;
A divine nimbus exhales from it from head to foot;
It attracts with fierce undeniable attraction!
I am drawn by its breath as if I were no more than a helpless vapor—all falls aside but myself and it; 55
Books, art, religion, time, the visible and solid earth, the atmosphere and the clouds, and what was expected of heaven or fear’d of hell, are now consumed;
Mad filaments, ungovernable shoots play out of it—the response likewise ungovernable;
Hair, bosom, hips, bend of legs, negligent falling hands, all diffused—mine too diffused;
Ebb stung by the flow, and flow stung by the ebb—love-flesh swelling and deliciously aching;
Limitless limpid jets of love hot and enormous, quivering jelly of love, white-blow and delirious juice; 60
Bridegroom night of love, working surely and softly into the prostrate dawn;
Undulating into the willing and yielding day,
Lost in the cleave of the clasping and sweet-flesh’d day.
This is the nucleus—after the child is born of woman, the man is born of woman;
This is the bath of birth—this is the merge of small and large, and the outlet again. 65
Be not ashamed, women—your privilege encloses the rest, and is the exit of the rest;
You are the gates of the body, and you are the gates of the soul.
The female contains all qualities, and tempers them—she is in her place, and moves with perfect balance;
She is all things duly veil’d—she is both passive and active;
She is to conceive daughters as well as sons, and sons as well as daughters. 70
As I see my soul reflected in nature;
As I see through a mist, one with inexpressible completeness and beauty,
See the bent head, and arms folded over the breast—the female I see.

The male is not less the soul, nor more—he too is in his place;
He too is all qualities—he is action and power; 75
The flush of the known universe is in him;
Scorn becomes him well, and appetite and defiance become him well;
The wildest largest passions, bliss that is utmost, sorrow that is utmost, become him well—pride is for him;
The full-spread pride of man is calming and excellent to the soul;
Knowledge becomes him—he likes it always—he brings everything to the test of himself; 80
Whatever the survey, whatever the sea and the sail, he strikes soundings at last only here;
(Where else does he strike soundings, except here?)
The man’s body is sacred, and the woman’s body is sacred;
No matter who it is, it is sacred;
Is it a slave? Is it one of the dull-faced immigrants just landed on the wharf? 85
Each belongs here or anywhere, just as much as the well-off—just as much as you;
Each has his or her place in the procession.
(All is a procession;
The universe is a procession, with measured and beautiful motion.)
Do you know so much yourself, that you call the slave or the dull-face ignorant? 90
Do you suppose you have a right to a good sight, and he or she has no right to a sight?
Do you think matter has cohered together from its diffuse float—and the soil is on the surface, and water runs, and vegetation sprouts,
For you only, and not for him and her?

A man’s Body at auction;
I help the auctioneer—the sloven does not half know his business. 95
Gentlemen, look on this wonder!
Whatever the bids of the bidders, they cannot be high enough for it;
For it the globe lay preparing quintillions of years, without one animal or plant;
For it the revolving cycles truly and steadily roll’d.
In this head the all-baffling brain; 100
In it and below it, the makings of heroes.
Examine these limbs, red, black, or white—they are so cunning in tendon and nerve;
They shall be stript, that you may see them.
Exquisite senses, life-lit eyes, pluck, volition,
Flakes of breast-muscle, pliant back-bone and neck, flesh not flabby, good-sized arms and legs, 105
And wonders within there yet.
Within there runs blood,
The same old blood!
The same red-running blood!
There swells and jets a heart—there all passions, desires, reachings, aspirations; 110
Do you think they are not there because they are not express’d in parlors and lecture-rooms?
This is not only one man—this is the father of those who shall be fathers in their turns;
In him the start of populous states and rich republics;
Of him countless immortal lives, with countless embodiments and enjoyments.
How do you know who shall come from the offspring of his offspring through the centuries? 115
Who might you find you have come from yourself, if you could trace back through the centuries?

A woman’s Body at auction!
She too is not only herself—she is the teeming mother of mothers;
She is the bearer of them that shall grow and be mates to the mothers.
Have you ever loved the Body of a woman? 120
Have you ever loved the Body of a man?
Your father—where is your father?
Your mother—is she living? have you been much with her? and has she been much with you?
—Do you not see that these are exactly the same to all, in all nations and times, all over the earth?
If any thing is sacred, the human body is sacred, 125
And the glory and sweet of a man, is the token of manhood untainted;
And in man or woman, a clean, strong, firm-fibred body, is beautiful as the most beautiful face.
Have you seen the fool that corrupted his own live body? or the fool that corrupted her own live body?
For they do not conceal themselves, and cannot conceal themselves.

O my Body! I dare not desert the likes of you in other men and women, nor the likes of the parts of you; 130
I believe the likes of you are to stand or fall with the likes of the Soul, (and that they are the Soul;)
I believe the likes of you shall stand or fall with my poems—and that they are poems,
Man’s, woman’s, child’s, youth’s, wife’s, husband’s, mother’s, father’s, young man’s, young woman’s poems;
Head, neck, hair, ears, drop and tympan of the ears,
Eyes, eye-fringes, iris of the eye, eye-brows, and the waking or sleeping of the lids, 135
Mouth, tongue, lips, teeth, roof of the mouth, jaws, and the jaw-hinges,
Nose, nostrils of the nose, and the partition,
Cheeks, temples, forehead, chin, throat, back of the neck, neck-slue,
Strong shoulders, manly beard, scapula, hind-shoulders, and the ample side-round of the chest.
Upper-arm, arm-pit, elbow-socket, lower-arm, arm-sinews, arm-bones, 140
Wrist and wrist-joints, hand, palm, knuckles, thumb, fore-finger, finger-balls, finger-joints, finger-nails,
Broad breast-front, curling hair of the breast, breast-bone, breast-side,
Ribs, belly, back-bone, joints of the back-bone,
Hips, hip-sockets, hip-strength, inward and outward round, man-balls, man-root,
Strong set of thighs, well carrying the trunk above, 145
Leg-fibres, knee, knee-pan, upper-leg, under leg,
Ankles, instep, foot-ball, toes, toe-joints, the heel;
All attitudes, all the shapeliness, all the belongings of my or your body, or of any one’s body, male or female,
The lung-sponges, the stomach-sac, the bowels sweet and clean,
The brain in its folds inside the skull-frame, 150
Sympathies, heart-valves, palate-valves, sexuality, maternity,
Womanhood, and all that is a woman—and the man that comes from woman,
The womb, the teats, nipples, breast-milk, tears, laughter, weeping, love-looks, love-perturbations and risings,
The voice, articulation, language, whispering, shouting aloud,
Food, drink, pulse, digestion, sweat, sleep, walking, swimming, 155
Poise on the hips, leaping, reclining, embracing, arm-curving and tightening,
The continual changes of the flex of the mouth, and around the eyes,
The skin, the sun-burnt shade, freckles, hair,
The curious sympathy one feels, when feeling with the hand the naked meat of the body,
The circling rivers, the breath, and breathing it in and out, 160
The beauty of the waist, and thence of the hips, and thence downward toward the knees,
The thin red jellies within you, or within me—the bones, and the marrow in the bones,
The exquisite realization of health;
O I say, these are not the parts and poems of the Body only, but of the Soul,
O I say now these are the Soul! 165

Walt Whitman


ASSING stranger! you do not know how longingly I look upon you,
You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking, (it comes to me as of a dream,)
I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you,
All is recall'd as we flit by each other, fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured,
You grew up with me, were a boy with me or a girl with me,
I ate with you and slept with you, your body has become not yours only nor left my body mine only,
You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we pass, you take of my beard, breast, hands, in return,
I am not to speak to you, I am to think of you when I sit alone or wake at night alone,
I am to wait, I do not doubt I am to meet you again,
I am to see to it that I do not lose you.

Walt Whitman

BEAT! beat! drums! -- blow! bugles! blow!
Through the windows -- through doors -- burst like a ruthless force,
Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation,
Into the school where the scholar is studying;
Leave not the bridegroom quiet -- no happiness must he have now with his bride,
Nor the peaceful farmer any peace, ploughing his field or gathering his grain,
So fierce you whirr and pound you drums -- so shrill you bugles blow.
Beat! beat! drums! -- blow! bugles! blow!
Over the traffic of cities -- over the rumble of wheels in the streets;
Are beds prepared for sleepers at night in the houses? no sleepers must sleep in those beds,
No bargainers' bargains by day -- no brokers or speculators -- would they continue?
Would the talkers be talking? would the singer attempt to sing?
Would the lawyer rise in the court to state his case before the judge?
Then rattle quicker, heavier drums -- you bugles wilder blow.
Beat! beat! drums! -- blow! bugles! blow!
Make no parley -- stop for no expostulation,
Mind not the timid -- mind not the weeper or prayer,
Mind not the old man beseeching the young man,
Let not the child's voice be heard, nor the mother's entreaties,
Make even the trestles to shake the dead where they lie awaiting the hearses,
So strong you thump O terrible drums -- so loud you bugles blow.

Walt Whitman

Life Is Fine

I went down to the river,
I set down on the bank.
I tried to think but couldn't,
So I jumped in and sank.

I came up once and hollered!
I came up twice and cried!
If that water hadn't a-been so cold
I might've sunk and died.

But it was Cold in that water! It was cold!

I took the elevator
Sixteen floors above the ground.
I thought about my baby
And thought I would jump down.

I stood there and I hollered!
I stood there and I cried!
If it hadn't a-been so high
I might've jumped and died.

But it was High up there! It was high!

So since I'm still here livin',
I guess I will live on.
I could've died for love--
But for livin' I was born

Though you may hear me holler,
And you may see me cry--
I'll be dogged, sweet baby,
If you gonna see me die.

Life is fine! Fine as wine! Life is fine!

Langston Hughes


The sun is hotter than the top ledge in a steam bath;
The ravine, crazed, is rampaging below.
Spring -- that corn-fed, husky milkmaid --
Is busy at her chores with never a letup.

The snow is wasting (pernicious anemia --
See those branching veinlets of impotent blue?)
Yet in the cowbarn life is burbling, steaming,
And the tines of pitchforks simply glow with health.

These days -- these days, and these nights also!
With eavesdrop thrumming its tattoos at noon,
With icicles (cachectic!) hanging on to gables,
And with the chattering of rills that never sleep!

All doors are flung open -- in stable and in cowbarn;
Pigeons peck at oats fallen in the snow;
And the culprit of all this and its life-begetter--
The pile of manure -- is pungent with ozone.

Boris Pasternak

Khmel (Hops, and Intoxication)

Under the willow, wound with ivy,
we shelter from the storm.
A greatcoat covers our shoulders,
my arms, to keep you warm.

I’m wrong. The trees in this wood
are circled with hops not ivy.
Better to spread the coat
on the ground, here, beneath me.

Boris Pasternak

Translated by A. S. Kline


Me moriré en París con aguacero,
un día del cual tengo ya el recuerdo.
Me moriré en París —y no me corro—
tal vez un jueves, como es hoy, de otoño.

Jueves será, porque hoy, jueves, que proso
estos versos, los húmeros me he puesto
a la mala y, jamás como hoy, me he vuelto,
con todo mi camino, a verme solo.

César Vallejo ha muerto, le pegaban
todos sin que él les haga nada;
le daban duro con un palo y duro

también con una soga; son testigos
los días jueves y los huesos húmeros,
la soledad, la lluvia, los caminos...

César Vallejo


Niños del mundo,
si cae España —digo, es un decir—
si cae
del cielo abajo su antebrazo que asen,
en cabestro, dos láminas terrestres;
niños, ¡qué edad la de las sienes cóncavas!
¡qué temprano en el sol lo que os decía!
¡qué pronto en vuestro pecho el ruido anciano!
¡qué viejo vuestro 2 en el cuaderno!

¡Niños del mundo, está
la madre España con su vientre a cuestas;
está nuestra madre con sus férulas,
está madre y maestra,
cruz y madera, porque os dio la altura,
vértigo y división y suma, niños;
está con ella, padres procesales!

Si cae —digo, es un decir— si cae
España, de la tierra para abajo,
niños ¡cómo vais a cesar de crecer!
¡cómo va a castigar el año al mes!
¡cómo van a quedarse en diez los dientes,
en palote el diptongo, la medalla en llanto!
¡Cómo va el corderillo a continuar
atado por la pata al gran tintero!
¡Cómo vais a bajar las gradas del alfabeto
hasta la letra en que nació la pena!

hijos de los guerreros, entre tanto,
bajad la voz que España está ahora mismo repartiendo
la energía entre el reino animal,
las florecillas, los cometas y los hombres.
¡Bajad la voz, que está
en su rigor, que es grande, sin saber
qué hacer, y está en su mano
la calavera, aquella de la trenza;
la calavera, aquella de la vida!

¡Bajad la voz, os digo;
bajad la voz, el canto de las sílabas, el llanto
de la materia y el rumor menos de las pirámides, y aun
el de las sienes que andan con dos piedras!
¡Bajad el aliento, y si
el antebrazo baja,
si las férulas suenan, si es la noche,
si el cielo cabe en dos limbos terrestres,
si hay ruido en el sonido de las puertas,
si tardo,
si no veis a nadie, si os asustan
los lápices sin punta, si la madre
España cae —digo, es un decir—,
salid, niños, del mundo; id a buscarla!...


Pienso en tu sexo.
Simplificado el corazón, pienso en tu sexo,
ante el hijar maduro del día.
Palpo el botón de dicha, está en sazón.
Y muere un sentimiento antiguo
degenerado en seso.

Pienso en tu sexo, surco más prolífico
y armonioso que el vientre de la Sombra,
aunque la Muerte concibe y pare
de Dios mismo.
Oh Conciencia,
pienso, sí, en el bruto libre
que goza donde quiere, donde puede.

Oh, escándalo de miel de los crepúsculos.
Oh estruendo mudo.


César Vallejo


En medio del temor y las sospechas,
con espíritu agitado y ojos de pavor,
nos consumimos y planeamos cómo hacer
para evitar el seguro
peligro que así terriblemente nos amenaza.
Y sin embargo estamos equivocados, ése no está en nuestro camino:
falsos eran los mensajes (o no los escuchamos, o no los entendimos
bien). Otra catástrofe, que no la imaginábamos,
repentina, violenta cae sobre nosotros
y no preparados -de dónde tiempo ya- nos arrebata.

Constantin Cavafis


Dijiste: "Iré a otra ciudad, iré a otro mar.
Otra ciudad ha de hallarse mejor que ésta.
Todo esfuerzo mío es una condena escrita;
y está mi corazón - como un cadáver - sepultado.
Mi espíritu hasta cuándo permanecerá en este marasmo.
Donde mis ojos vuelva, donde quiera que mire
oscuras ruinas de mi vida veo aquí,
donde tantos años pasé y destruí y perdí".
Nuevas tierras no hallarás, no hallarás otros mares.
La ciudad te seguirá. Vagarás
por las mismas calles. Y en los mismos barrios te harás viejo
y en estas mismas casas encanecerás.
Siempre llegarás a esta ciudad. Para otro lugar -no esperes-
no hay barco para ti, no hay camino.
Así como tu vida la arruinaste aquí
en este rincón pequeño, en toda tierra la destruiste.

Constantin Cavafis

Cuando salgas en el viaje, hacia Ítaca
desea que el camino sea largo,
pleno de aventuras, pleno de conocimientos.
A los Lestrigones y a los Cíclopes,
al irritado Poseidón no temas,
tales cosas en tu ruta nunca hallarás,
si elevado se mantiene tu pensamiento, si una selecta
emoción tu espíritu y tu cuerpo embarga.
A los Lestrigones y a los Cíclopes,
y al feroz Poseidón no encontrarás,
si dentro de tu alma no los llevas,
si tu alma no los yergue delante de ti.
Desea que el camino sea largo.
Que sean muchas las mañanas estivales
en que con cuánta dicha, con cuánta alegría
entres a puertos nunca vistos:
detente en mercados fenicios,
y adquiere las bellas mercancías,
ámbares y ébanos, marfiles y corales,
y perfumes voluptuosos de toda clase,
cuanto más abundantes puedas perfumes voluptuosos;
anda a muchas ciudades Egipcias
a aprender y aprender de los sabios.
Siempre en tu pensamiento ten a Ítaca.
Llegar hasta allí es tu destino.
Pero no apures tu viaje en absoluto.
Mejor que muchos años dure:
y viejo ya ancles en la isla,
rico con cuanto ganaste en el camino,
sin esperar que riquezas te dé Ítaca.
Ítaca te dio el bello viaje.
Sin ella no hubieras salido al camino.
Otras cosas no tiene ya que darte.
Y si pobre la encuentras, Ítaca no te ha engañado.
Sabio así como llegaste a ser, con experiencia tanta,
ya habrás comprendido las Ítacas qué es lo que significan.

Constantin Cavafis

by Omar Khayyám


When I am dead, with wine my body lave,
For obit chant a bacchanalian stave,
And, if you need me at the day of doom,
Beneath the tavern threshold seek my grave.


Since no one can assure thee of the morrow,
Rejoice thy heart to-day, and banish sorrow
With moonbright wine, fair moon, for heaven's moon
Will look for us in vain on many a morrow.


Let lovers all distraught and frenzied be,
And flown with wine, and reprobates, like me;
When sober, I find everything amiss,
But in my cups cry, "Let what will be, be."

Translated by E. H. Whinfield

A love story from the rice fields of China
Sui Sin Far

CHOW MING, the husband of Ah Sue was an Americanized Chinese, so when Christmas day came, he gave a big dinner, to which he invited both his American and Chinese friends, and also one friend who was both Chinese and American.

The large room in which he gave the dinner presented quite a striking appearance on the festive evening, being decorated with Chinese flags and banners, algebraic scrolls, incense burners and tropical plants; and the company sat down to a real feast. Chow Ming's cook had a reputation.

Ah Ming and Ah Oi, Chow Ming's little son and daughter, flitted around like young humming birds in their bright garments. Their arms and necks were hung with charms and amulets given to them by their father's friends and they kept up an incessant twittering between themselves. They were not allowed, however, to sit down with their elders and ate in an ante room of rice and broiled preserved chicken -- a sweet dish, the morsels of chicken being prepared so as to resemble raisins.

Chinese do not indulge in conversation during meal time; but when dinner was over and a couple of Chinese violinists had made their debut, the host brought forward several of his compatriots whom he introduced as men whose imaginations and experiences enabled them to relate the achievements of heroes, the despair of lovers, the blessings which fall to the lot of the filial and the terrible fate of the undutiful. Themes were varied; but those which were most appreciated were stories which treated of magic and enchantment.

"Come away," said Ah Sue to me. -- We two were the only women present. -- "I want to tell you a story, a real true love story -- Chinese."

"Really," I exclaimed delightedly.

"Really," echoed Ah Sue, "the love story of me."

When we were snugly ensconced in her own little room, Ah Sue began:

"My father," said she, "was a big rice farmer. He owned many, many rice fields, but he had no son -- just me."

"Chow Han worked for my father. The first time I saw Chow Han was at the Harvest Moon festival. I wore a veil of strings of pearls over my forehead. But his eyes saw beneath the pearls and I was very much ashamed."

"Why were you ashamed? You must have looked very charming."

Ah Sue smiled. She was a pretty little woman.

"I was not ashamed of my veil," said she, "I was ashamed because I perceived that Chow Han knew that I glanced his way.

"The next day I and my mother sat on the hill under big parasols and watched the men, sickle in hand, wading through the rice fields, cutting down the grain. It is a pretty sight, the reaping of the rice.

"Chow Han drove the laden buffaloes. He was bigger and stronger than any of the other lads. My mother did not stay


by me all the time. There were the maid's tasks to be set. Chow Han drove past when my mother was not beside me and threw at my feet a pretty shell. 'A pearl for a pearl,' he cried, and laughed saucily. I did not look at him, but when he had passed out of sight I slipped the shell up my sleeve.

"It was a long time before I again saw the lad. My mother fell sick and I accompanied her to the City of Canton to see an American doctor in an American hospital. We remained in Canton, in the house of my brother-in-law for many months. I saw much that was new to my eyes and the sister of the American doctor taught me to speak English -- and some other things.

"By the spring of the year my mother was much improved in health, and we returned home to celebrate the Spring Festival. The Chinese people are very merry at the time of the springing of the rice. The fields are covered with green, and the rice flower peeps out at the side of the little green blade, so small, so white and so sweet. One afternoon I was following alone a stream in the woods behind my father's house, when I saw Chow Han coming toward me."

Ah Sue paused. For all her years in America she was a Chinese woman.

"And he welcomed you home," I suggested.

Ah Sue nodded her head.

"And like a Chinese girl you ran away from the wicked man."

Ah Sue's eyes glistened mischievously.

"You forget, Sui Sin Far," said she, "that I had been living in Canton and had much talk with an American woman. No, when Chow Han told me that he had much respectful love in his heart for me, I laughed a little laugh, I was so glad -- too glad for words. Had not his face been ever before me since the day he tossed me the shell?

"But my father was rich and Chow Han was poor.

"When the little white flowers had once more withdrawn into the green blades and were transforming themselves into little white grains of rice, there came to the rice country a cousin of Chow Han's who had been living for some years in America. He talked much with Chow Han, and one day Chow Han came to me and said:

"'I am bound for the land beyond the sea; but in a few years I will return with a fortune big enough to please your father. Wait for me!'

"I did not answer him; I could not.

"'Promise that you will ever remember me,' said Chow Han.

"'You need no primrose,' I returned. Chow Han set down the pot of fragrant leafed geranium which he had brought with him as a parting gift.

"'As for me,' said he, 'even if I should die, my spirit will fly to this plant and keep ever beside you.'

"So Chow Han went away to the land beyond the sea."

Ah Sue's eyes wandered to the distant water, which like a sheet of silver, reflected every light and color of the sky.

"Moons rose and waned. I know not how, but through some misfortune, my father lost his money and his rice farms passed into other hands. I loved my poor old father and would have done much to ease his mind; but there was one thing I would not do, and that was marry the man to whom he had betrothed me. Had not the American woman told me that even if one cannot marry the man one loves, it is happier to be true to him than to wed another, and had not the American woman, because she followed her conscience, eyes full of sunshine?

"My father died and my mother and I went to live with my brother-in-law in the city of Canton. Two days before we left our old home, we learned that Chow Han had passed away in a railway accident in the United States of America.

"My mother's sister and brother-in-law urged my mother to marry me to some good man, but believing that Chow Han's spirit was ever now beside me, I determined to remain single as the American woman. Was she not brighter and happier than many of my married relations?

"Meanwhile the geranium flower throve in loveliness and fragrance, and in my saddest moments I turned to it for peace and comfort.


"One evening, my poor old mother fell asleep and never woke again. I was so sad. My mother's sister did not love me, and my brother-in-law told me he could no longer support me and that I must marry. There were three good men to be had and I must make up my mind which it should be.

"What would I do? What should I do? I bent over my geranium flower and whispered: 'Tell me, O dear spirit, shall I seek the river?' And I seemed to hear this message: 'No, no, be brave as the American woman!'

"Ah, the American woman! She showed me a way to live. With her assistance I started a small florist shop. My mother had always loved flowers, and behind our house had kept a plot of ground, cram full of color, which I had tended for her ever since I was a child. So the care of flowers was no new task for me, and I made a good living, and if I were sad at times, yet, for the most part, my heart was serene.

"Many who came to me wished to buy the geranium plant, which was now very large and beautiful; but to none would I sell. What! barter the spirit of Chow Han!

"On New Year's day a stranger came into my shop. His hat partly concealed his face; but I could see that he was of our country, though he wore the dress of the foreigner and no queue.

"'What is the price of the large geranium at your door?' he enquired, and he told me that its fragrance had stolen to him as he passed by.

"'There is no price on that flower,' I replied, 'it is there to be seen, but not to be sold.'

"'Not to be sold! But if I give you a high price?'

"'Not for any price,' I answered.

"He sought to persuade me to tell him why, but all I would say was that he could not have the flower.

"At last he came close up to me and said:

"'There is another flower that I desire, and you will not say me nay when I put forth my hand to take it.'

"I started back in alarm.

"'You will not sell the geranium flower,' he told me, 'because you believe that the spirit of Chow Han resides within it. But 'tis not so. The spirit of Chow Han resides within Chow Han. Behold him!'

"He lifted his hat. It was Chow Han."

Ah Sue looked up as her husband entered the room bearing on his shoulder their little Han.

"And you named your boy after your old sweetheart," I observed.

"Yes," replied Ah Sue, "my old sweetheart. But know this, Sin Far, the Chinese men change their name on the day they marry, and the Chow Han, who gave me the scented leafed geranium, and after many moons, found me through its fragrance, is also my husband, Chow Ming."

The Epic of Kings
By Ferdowsi

Translated by Helen Zimmern


Kaiumers first sat upon the throne of Persia, and was master of the
world. He took up his abode in the mountains, and clad himself and
his people in tiger-skins, and from him sprang all kindly nurture
and the arts of clothing, till then unknown. Men and beasts from all
parts of the earth came to do him homage and receive laws at his hands,
and his glory was like to the sun. Then Ahriman the Evil, when he
saw how the Shah's honour was increased, waxed envious, and sought
to usurp the diadem of the world. So he bade his son, a mighty Deev,
gather together an army to go out against Kaiumers and his beloved
son Saiamuk and destroy them utterly.

Now the Serosch, the angel who defendeth men from the snares of the
Deevs, and who each night flieth seven times around the earth that
he may watch over the children of Ormuzd, when he learned this, appeared
like unto a Peri and warned Kaiumers. So when Saiamuk set forth at
the head of his warriors to meet the army of Ahriman, he knew that
he was contending against a Deev, and he put forth all his strength.
But the Deev was mightier than he, and overcame him, and crushed him
under his hands.

When Kaiumers heard the news of mourning, he was bowed to the ground.
For a year did he weep without ceasing, and his army wept with him;
yea, even the savage beasts and the birds of the air joined in the
wailing. And sorrow reigned in the land, and all the world was darkened
until the Serosch bade the Shah lift his head and think on vengeance.
And Kaiumers obeyed, and commanded Husheng, the son of Saiamuk, "Take
the lead of the army, and march against the Deevs." And the King,
by reason of his great age, went in the rear. Now there were in the
host Peris; also tigers, lions, wolves, and other fierce creatures,
and when the black Deev heard their roaring he trembled for very fear.
Neither could he hold himself against them, and Husheng routed him
utterly. Then when Kaiumers saw that his well-beloved son was revenged
he laid him down to die, and the world was void of him, and Husheng
reigned in his stead.

Now Husheng was a wise man and just, and the heavens revolved over
his throne forty years. justice did he spread over the land, and the
world was better for his reign. For he first gave to men fire, and
showed them how to draw it from out the stone; and he taught them
how they might lead the rivers, that they should water the land and
make it fertile; and he bade them till and reap. And he divided the
beasts and paired them and gave them names. And when he passed to
a brighter life he left the world empty of a throne of power. But
Tahumers, his son, was not unworthy of his sire. He too opened the
eyes of men, and they learned to spin and to weave; and he reigned
over the land long and mightily. But of him also were the Deevs right
envious, and sought to destroy him. Yet Tahumers overcame them and
cast them to earth. Then some craved mercy at his hands, and sware
how they would show him an art if he would spare them, and Tahumers
listened to their voice. And they taught him the art of writing, and
thus from the evil Deevs came a boon upon mankind.

Howbeit when Tahumers had sat upon the golden throne for the space
of thirty years he passed away, but his works endured; and Jemshid,
his glorious son, whose heart was filled with the counsels of his
father, came after him. Now Jemshid reigned over the land seven hundred
years girt with might, and Deevs, birds, and Peris obeyed him. And
the world was happier for his sake, and he too was glad, and death
was unknown among men, neither did they wot of pain or sorrow. And
he first parcelled out men into classes; priests, warriors, artificers,
and husbandmen did he name them. And the year also he divided into
periods. And by aid of the Deevs he raised mighty works, and Persepolis
was builded by him, that to this day is called Tukht-e-Jemsheed, which
being interpreted meaneth the throne of Jemshid. Then, when these
things were accomplished, men flocked from all corners of the earth
around his throne to do him homage and pour gifts before his face.
And Jemshid prepared a feast, and bade them keep it, and called it
Neurouz, which is the New Day, and the people of Persia keep it to
this hour. And Jemshid's power increased, and the world was at peace,
and men beheld in him nought but what was good.

Then it came about that the heart of Jemshid was uplifted in pride,
and he forgot whence came his weal and the source of his blessings.
He beheld only himself upon the earth, and he named himself God, and
sent forth his image to be worshipped. But when he had spoken thus,
the Mubids, which are astrologers and wise men, hung their heads in
sorrow, and no man knew how he should answer the Shah. And God withdrew
his hand from Jemshid, and the kings and the nobles rose up against
him, and removed their warriors from his court, and Ahriman had power
over the land.

Now there dwelt in the deserts of Arabia a king named Mirtas, generous
and just, and he had a son, Zohak, whom he loved. And it came about
that Ahriman visited the palace disguised as a noble, and tempted
Zohak that he should depart from the paths of virtue. And he spake
unto him and said-

"If thou wilt listen to me, and enter into a covenant, I will raise
thy head above the sun."

Now the young man was guileless and simple of heart, and he sware
unto the Deev that he would obey him in all things. Then Ahriman bade
him slay his father, "for this old man," he said, "cumbereth the ground,
and while he liveth thou wilt remain unknown." When Zohak heard this
he was filled with grief, and would have broken his oath, but Ahriman
suffered him not, but made him set a trap for Mirtas. And Zohak and
the evil Ahriman held their peace and Mirtas fell into the snare and
was killed. Then Zohak placed the crown of Thasis upon his head, and
Ahriman taught him the arts of magic, and he ruled over his people
in good and evil, for he was not yet wholly given up to guile.

Then Ahriman imagined a device in his black heart. He took upon himself
the form of a youth, and craved that he might serve the King as cook.
And Zohak, who knew him not, received him well and granted his request,
and the keys of the kitchen were given unto him. Now hitherto men
had been nourished with herbs, but Ahriman prepared flesh for Zohak.
New dishes did he put before him, and the royal favour was accorded
to his savory meats. And the flesh gave the King courage and strength
like to that of a lion, and he commanded that his cook should be brought
before him and ask a boon at his hands. And the cook said-

"If the King take pleasure in his servant, grant that he may kiss
his shoulders."

Now Zohak, who feared no evil, granted the request, and Ahriman kissed
him on his shoulders. And when he had done so, the ground opened beneath
his feet and covered the cook, so that all men present were amazed
thereat. But from his kiss sprang hissing serpents, venomous and black;
and the King was afraid, and desired that they should be cut off from
the root. But as often as the snakes were cut down did they grow again,
and in vain the wise men and physicians cast about for a remedy. Then
Ahriman came once again disguised as a learned man, and was led before
Zohak, and he spake, saying-

"This ill cannot be healed, neither can the serpents be uprooted.
Prepare food for them, therefore, that they may be fed, and give unto
them for nourishment the brains of men, for perchance this may destroy

But in his secret heart Ahriman desired that the world might thus
be made desolate; and daily were the serpents fed, and the fear of
the King was great in the land. The world withered in his thrall,
the customs of good men were forgotten, and the desires of the wicked
were accomplished.

Now it was spread abroad in Iran that in the land of Thasis there
reigned a man who was mighty and terrible to his foes. Then the kings
and nobles who had withdrawn from Jemshid because he had rebelled
against God, turned to Zohak and besought him that he would be their
ruler, and they proclaimed him Shah. And the armies of Arabia and
Persia marched against Jemshid, and he fled before their face. For
the space of twice fifty years no man knew whither he was gone, for
he hid from the wrath of the Serpent-King. But in the fulness of time
he could no longer escape the fury of Zohak, whose servants found
him as he wandered on the sea-shore of Cathay, and they sawed him
in twain, and sent tidings thereof to their lord. And thus perished
the throne and power of Jemshid like unto the grass that withereth,
because that he was grown proud, and would have lifted himself above
his Maker.

So the beloved of Ahriman, Zohak the Serpent, sat upon the throne
of Iran, the kingdom of Light. And he continued to pile evil upon
evil till the measure thereof was full to overflowing, and all the
land cried out against him. But Zohak and his councillors, the Deevs,
shut ear unto this cry, and the Shah reigned thus for the space of
a thousand years, and vice stalked in daylight, but virtue was hidden.
And despair filled all hearts, for it was as though mankind must perish
to still the appetite of those snakes sprung from Evil, for daily
were two men slaughtered to satisfy their desire. Neither had Zohak
mercy upon any man. And darkness was spread over the land because
of his wickedness.

But Ormuzd saw it and was moved with compassion for his people, and
he declared they should no longer suffer for the sin of Jemshid. And
he caused a grandson to be born to Jemshid, and his parents called
him Feridoun.

Now it befell that when he was born, Zohak dreamed he beheld a youth
slender like to a cypress, and he came towards him bearing a cow-headed
mace, and with it he struck Zohak to the ground. Then the tyrant awoke
and trembled, and called for his Mubids, that they should interpret
to him this dream. And they were troubled, for they foresaw danger,
and he menaced them if they foretold him evil. And they were silent
for fear three days, but on the fourth one who had courage spake and

"There will arise one named Feridoun, who shall inherit thy throne
and reverse thy fortunes, and strike thee down with a cow-headed mace."

When Zohak heard these words he swooned, and the Mubids fled before
his wrath. But when he had recovered he bade the world be scoured
for Feridoun. And henceforth Zohak was consumed for bitterness of
spirit, and he knew neither rest nor joy.

Ancient egypcian pastoral poem

The Voice of the Swallow, Flittering, Calls to Me

The voice of the swallow, flittering, calls to me;
"Land's alight! Whither away?"
No, little bird, you cannot entice me,
I follow you to the fields no more.

Like you in the dawn mist I rose,
at sunrise discovered my lover abed
(his voice is sweeter)
"Wake," I said "or I will fly with the swallow."
And my heart smiled back
when he, smiling, said:
"You shall not fly
Nor shall I, bright bird.
But hand in hand
We shall walk the Nileside pathways,
under cool of branches, hidden
(only the swallows watching)
Wide-eyed gir'
I shall be with you in all glad places.�

Can you match the notes of that song, little swallow?
I am first in his field of girls!
My heart , dear sister, sings in his hand -
love never harmed a winged creature.

Translated by John I. Foster

After heaven and earth had been separated
and mankind had been created,
after Anûum, Enlil and Ereskigal had taken posesssion
of heaven, earth and the underworld;
after Enki had set sail for the underworld
and the sea ebbed and flowed in honor of its lord;
on this day, a huluppu tree
which had been planted on the banks of the Euphrates
and nourished by its waters
was uprooted by the south wind
and carried away by the Euphrates.
A goddess who was wandering among the banks
siezed the swaying tree
And -- at the behest of Anu and Enlil --
brought it to Inanna's garden in Uruk.
Inanna tended the tree carefully and lovingly
she hoped to have a throne and a bed
made for herself from its wood.
After ten years, the tree had matured.
But in the meantime, she found to her dismay
that her hopes could not be fulfilled.
because during that time
a dragon had built its nest at the foot of the tree
the Zu-bird was raising its young in the crown,
and the demon Lilith had built her house in the middle.[1]
But Gilgamesh, who had heard of Inanna's plight,
came to her rescue.
He took his heavy shield
killed the dragon with his heavy bronze axe,
which weighed seven talents and seven minas.
Then the Zu-bird flew into the mountains
with its young,
while Lilith, petrified with fear,
tore down her house and fled into the wilderness

translated by Samuel Kramer

I am Goya

I am Goya
of the bare field, by the enemy’s beak gouged
till the craters of my eyes gape
I am grief

I am the tongue
of war, the embers of cities
on the snows of the year 1941
I am hunger

I am the gullet
of a woman hanged whose body like a bell
tolled over a blank square
I am Goya

O grapes of wrath!
I have hurled westward
the ashes of the uninvited guest!
and hammered stars into the unforgetting sky - like nails
I am Goya

Andrey Voznesensky
(translated from the Russian by Stanley Kunitz)


Blue diaphane, tobacco smoke
Serpentine on wet film and wood glaze,
Mutes chrome, wreathes velvet drapes,
Dims the cave of mirrors. Ghost fingers
Comb seaweed hair, stroke acquamarine veins
Of marooned mariners, captives
Of Circe's sultry notes. The barman
Dispenses igneous potions ?
Somnabulist, the band plays on.

Cocktail mixer, silvery fish
Dances for limpet clients.
Applause is steeped in lassitude,
Tangled in webs of lovers' whispers
And artful eyelash of the androgynous.
The hovering notes caress the night
Mellowed deep indigo ?still they play.

Departures linger. Absences do not
Deplete the tavern. They hang over the haze
As exhalations from receded shores. Soon,
Night repossesses the silence, but till dawn
The notes hold sway, smoky
Epiphanies, possessive of the hours.

This music's plaint forgives, redeems
The deafness of the world. Night turns
Homewards, sheathed in notes of solace, pleats
The broken silence of the heart.

Wole Soyinka

Civilian and Soldier

My apparition rose from the fall of lead,
Declared, 'I am a civilian.' It only served
To aggravate your fright. For how could I
Have risen, a being of this world, in that hour
Of impartial death! And I thought also: nor is
Your quarrel of this world.

You stood still
For both eternities, and oh I heard the lesson
Of your traing sessions, cautioning -
Scorch earth behind you, do not leave
A dubious neutral to the rear. Reiteration
Of my civilian quandary, burrowing earth
From the lead festival of your more eager friends
Worked the worse on your confusion, and when
You brought the gun to bear on me, and death
Twitched me gently in the eye, your plight
And all of you came clear to me.

I hope some day
Intent upon my trade of living, to be checked
In stride by your apparition in a trench,
Signalling, I am a soldier. No hesitation then
But I shall shoot you clean and fair
With meat and bread, a gourd of wine
A bunch of breasts from either arm, and that
Lone question - do you friend, even now, know
What it is all about?

Wole Soyinka

Nuit de Siné

Femme, pose sur mon front tes mains balsamiques, tes mains douces plus que fourrure.
Là-haut les palmes balancées qui bruissent dans la haute brise nocturne
À peine. Pas même la chanson de nourrice.
Qu'il nous berce, le silence rythmé.
Écoutons son chant, écoutons battre notre sang sombre, écoutons
Battre le pouls profond de l'Afrique dans la brume des villages perdus.

Voici que décline la lune lasse vers son lit de mer étale
Voici que s'assoupissent les éclats de rire, que les conteurs eux-mêmes
Dodelinent de la tête comme l'enfant sur le dos de sa mère
Voici que les pieds des danseurs s'alourdissent, que s'alourdit la langue des choeurs alternés.

C'est l'heure des étoiles et de la Nuit qui songe
S'accoude à cette colline de nuages, drapée dans son long pagne de lait.
Les toits des cases luisent tendrement. Que disent-ils, si confidentiels, aux étoiles ?
Dedans, le foyer s'éteint dans l'intimité d'odeurs âcres et douces.

Femme, allume la lampe au beurre clair, que causent autour les Ancêtres comme les parents, les enfants au lit.
Écoutons la voix des Anciens d'Elissa. Comme nous exilés
Ils n'ont pas voulu mourir, que se perdît par les sables leur torrent séminal.
Que j'écoute, dans la case enfumée que visite un reflet d'âmes propices
Ma tête sur ton sein chaud comme un dang au sortir du feu et fumant
Que je respire l'odeur de nos Morts, que je recueille et redise leur voix vivante, que j'apprenne à
Vivre avant de descendre, au-delà du plongeur, dans les hautes profondeurs du sommeil.

Leopold Sédar Senghor

Sea Grapes

That sail which leans on light,
tired of islands,
a schooner beating up the Caribbean

for home, could be Odysseus,
home-bound on the Aegean;
that father and husband's

longing, under gnarled sour grapes, is like
the adulterer hearing Nausicaa's name in
every gull's outcry.

This brings nobody peace. The ancient war
between obsession and responsibility will
never finish and has been the same

for the sea-wanderer or the one on shore now
wriggling on his sandals to walk home, since
Troy sighed its last flame,

and the blind giant's boulder heaved the trough from
whose groundswell the great hexameters come to the
conclusions of exhausted surf.

The classics can console. But not enough.

Derek Walcott


WHEN I go alone at night to my love-tryst, birds do not sing, the wind does not stir, the houses on both sides of the street stand silent.
It is my own anklets that grow loud at every step and I am ashamed.

When I sit on my balcony and listen for his footsteps, leaves do not rustle on the trees, and the water is still in the river like the sword on the knees of a sentry fallen asleep.
It is my own heart that beats wildly -- I do not know how to quiet it.

When my love comes and sits by my side, when my body trembles and my eyelids droop, the night darkens, the wind blows out the lamp, and the clouds draw veils over the stars.
It is the jewel at my own breast that shines and gives light. I do not know how to hide it.

Rabindranath Tagore


Inclinado en las tardes tiro mis tristes redes
a tus ojos oceánicos.

Allí se estira y arde en la más alta hoguera
mi soledad que da vueltas los brazos como un náufrago.

Hago rojas señales sobre tus ojos ausentes
que olean como el mar a la orilla de un faro.

Sólo guardas tinieblas, hembra distante y mía,
de tu mirada emerge a veces la costa del espanto.

Inclinado en las tardes echo mis tristes redes
a ese mar que sacude tus ojos oceánicos.

Los pájaros nocturnos picotean las primeras estrellas
que centellean como mi alma cuando te amo.

Galopa la noche en su yegua sombría
desparramando espigas azules sobre el campo.

Pablo Neruda


I dragged up from the dark abyss things of strange aspect and strange beauty -- some shone like a smile, some glistened like tears, and some were flushed like the cheeks of a bride.

When with the day's burden I went home, my love was sitting in the garden idly tearing the leaves of a flower.

I hesitated for a moment, and then placed at her feet all that I had dragged up, and stood silent.

She glanced at them and said, "What strange things are these? I know not of what use they are!"

I bowed my head in shame and thought, "I have not fought for these, I did not buy them in the market; they are not fit gifts for her."

Then the whole night through I flung them one by one into the street.

In the morning travellers came; they picked them up and carried them into far countries.

Rabindranath Tagore

Nubes y olas

Rabindranath Tagore

Madre, los que viven allá arriba, en las nubes, me llaman:

-Nosotros jugamos desde que despertamos hasta el anochecer -dicen-. Jugamos con el alba de oro y con la luna de plata.

Yo les pregunto:

-Pero ¿cómo subiré hasta ustedes?

Y me contestan:

-Ven hasta el borde de la tierra, levanta entonces las manos al cielo y te subiremos con las nubes.

Pero yo les digo:

-Mi madre me espera en casa, ¿cómo podría dejarla para venir?

Entonces sonríen y se van flotando.

Pero conozco un juego más bonito que ése.

Yo seré la nube y tú la luna.

Yo cubriré tu rostro con mis dos manos y el techo de nuestra casa será el cielo azul.

Los que viven en las olas me llaman:

-Nosotros cantamos desde el alba al crepúsculo; avanzamos siempre, siempre, sin saber por dónde pasamos.

Yo les pregunto:

-Pero, ¿cómo me uniré a ustedes?

-Ven -dicen- ven hasta la orilla de la playa, cierra los ojos y serás arrebatado por las olas.

Yo respondo:

-Pero cuando llega la noche mi madre me quiere a su lado; ¿cómo podría dejarla para venir?

Entonces sonríen, y se van bailando.

¡Pero yo conozco un juego más divertido que ése! Yo seré las olas y tú una playa lejana.

Yo rodaré, rodaré, y como una ola que se rompe, mi risa rodeará tus rodillas.

Y nadie sabrá, en todo el mundo, dónde estamos tú o yo.

Thou and I

Joyful the moment when we sat in the bower, Thou and I;
In two forms and with two faces - with one soul, Thou and I.

The colour of the garden and the song of the birds give the elixir of immortality
The instant we come into the orchard, Thou and I.

The stars of Heaven come out to look upon us -
We shall show the moon herself to them, Thou and I.

Thou and I, with no 'Thou' or 'I', shall become one through our tasting;
Happy, safe from idle talking, Thou and I.

The spirited parrots of heaven will envy us -
Wen we shall laugh in such a way, Thou and I.

This is stranger, that Thou and I, in this corner here...
Are both in one breath here and there - Thou and I.

Jelaluddin Rumi

Spring Giddiness

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don't open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep.

I would love to kiss you.
The price of kissing is your life.
Now my loving is running toward my life shouting,
What a bargain, let's buy it.

Daylight, full of small dancing particles
and the one great turning, our souls
are dancing with you, without feet, they dance.
Can you see them when I whisper in your ear?

All day and night, music,
a quiet, bright
reedsong. If it
fades, we fade.

Jelaluddin Rumi

Art as Flirtation and Surrender

In your light I learn how to love.

In your beauty, how to make poems.

You dance inside my chest,

where no one sees you,

but sometimes I do,

and that sight becomes this art.

Jelaluddin Rumi

Each fall in New Hampshire, on the farm
where my mother grew up, a girl in the country,
my grandfather and grandmother
finished the autumn work, taking the last vegetables in
from the cold fields, canning, storing roots and apples
in the cellar under the kitchen. Then my grandfather
raked leaves against the house
as the final chore of autumn.
One November I drove up from college to see them.
We pulled big rakes, as we did when we hayed in summer,
pulling the leaves against the granite foundations
around the house, on every side of the house,
and then, to keep them in place, we cut spruce boughs
and laid them across the leaves,
green on red, until the house
was tucked up, ready for snow
that would freeze the leaves in tight, like a stiff skirt.
Then we puffed through the shed door,
taking off boots and overcoats, slapping our hands,
and sat in the kitchen, rocking, and drank
black coffee my grandmother made,
three of us sitting together, silent, in gray November.

Donald Hall

Ice Out

As late as yesterday ice preoccupied
the pond - dark, half-melted, water-logged.
Then it sank in the night, one piece,
taking winter with it. And afterward
everything seems simple and good.

All afternoon I lifted oak leaves
from the flowerbeds, and greeted
like friends the green-white crowns
of perennials. They have the tender,
unnerving beauty of a baby's head.

How I hated to come in! I've left
the windows open to hear the peepers'
wildly disproportionate cries.
Dinner is over, no one stirs. The dog
sighs, sneezes, and closes his eyes.

Jane Kenyon

Notes from the Other Side

I divested myself of despair
and fear when I came here.

Now there is no more catching
one's own eye in the mirror,

there are no bad books, no plastic,
no insurance premiums, and of course

no illness. Contrition
does not exist, nor gnashing

of teeth. No one howls as the first
clod of earth hits the casket.

The poor we no longer have with us.
Our calm hearts strike only the hour,

and God, as promised, proves
to be mercy clothed in light.

Jane Kenyon

Let Evening Come

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don't
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.

Jane Kenyon

Hecuba's lament and transformation

The Trojan women lift her body, counting over the lamented children of Priam, and recounting how much blood one house has surrendered. They weep for you, girl, and for you, Hecuba, who were lately called the royal wife, the royal parent, the image of bright Asia, now in evil circumstances, even for a prisoner, whom victorious Ulysses would not have wanted, except for the fact that you had given birth to Hector: a partner for his mother that Hector would scarcely have imagined!
Embracing the body of Polyxena, now empty of that brave spirit, she sheds the tears for her that she has shed so often for her husband, sons and country. She pours her tears over her daughter's wound, covers her lips with kisses, and beats at her own bruised breast.
Then, tearing at her white hair caked with blood, and plucking at her breast, she said this amongst other things: "Child - since, what else is left me? - your mother's last grief, Child, you lie there, and I see your wound, that is my wound. Look, you also have your wound, so that I might lose none of my children without bloodshed. Because you were a woman, I thought you safe from the sword: yet, a woman, you have died by the sword: and that same Achilles who has ruined Troy and made me childless, who has destroyed so many of your brothers, has killed you in the same way.
Yet when he fell to the arrow of Paris, and Phoebus, I said: "Now surely, Achilles is no longer to be feared." Yet even then I still needed to fear him. His very ashes in the tomb are hostile to our race: even in the grave we feel his enmity: I gave birth for the Aeacidae! Mighty Ilium is in the dust, and, in a grievous outcome, our ruined State is ended. But still, it ended: in me, only, Pergama remains. My grief still takes it course. A moment ago I was endowed with the greatest things, so many sons and daughters, sons-in-law, and daughters-in-law, and my husband. Now, exiled, destitute, torn from the tombs of my loved ones, I am dragged off as a prize, to serve Penelope. She will point me out to the women of Ithaca, as I spin the wool she gives me, and say: "This is the famous mother of Hector, this is Priam's queen." Now you, Polyxena, after so many have been lost, you, who were the only one left to comfort your mother's grief, have been sacrificed on an enemy tomb! I have borne offerings for the enemy dead!
Why do I remain, unyielding? Why do I linger here? Why do you preserve me, wrinkled old age? Why prolong an old woman's life, cruel gods, unless it is for me to view more funerals? Who would have thought Priam could be happy when Pergama has fallen? Yet he is happy, in death! He did not see you killed, daughter, but left his kingdom and his life together. Do I imagine you will be endowed with funereal splendour, and your body laid to rest in the ancestral tomb? That is not our house's fate! Your mother's tears will be your funeral gift, and the wastes of foreign sand. I have lost everything: now an only child is left, once the youngest son of my family, his mother's dearest, a reason to endure life for a brief space of time, Polydorus, sent to these shores, to the Ismarian king. But why do I delay, meanwhile, the cleansing of your cruel wound with water, your face spattered with drops of blood?"
She spoke, and went to the shore, with the stumbling steps of an old woman, tearing at her white hair. "Give me an urn, women of Troy!" said the unhappy mother, wanting to draw water from the sea. There, she saw Polydorus's body, thrown on the beach, covered with open wounds made by Thracian spears. The Trojan women cried out, but she was dumb with grief. The grief itself obliterated both her powers of speech and the tears welling inside, and she stood unmoving like solid rock, at one moment with her gaze fixed on the ground, the next lifting her face grimly towards the sky. Now she looked at her dead son's face, now at his wounds, mostly at his wounds, awakening a growing anger in herself. Then it blazed out, and she, as if she were still a queen, determined on vengeance, her whole mind filled with thoughts of punishment.
Hecuba, her grief mixed with anger, forgetting her age, but not forgetting her rage, like a lioness maddened by the theft of her unweaned cub, that, though she cannot see her enemy, follows the traces she finds of his footsteps, found her way to the author of the dreadful crime, Polymestor. She made out that she wanted to show him a secret hoard of gold, to be given to her son. The Thracian believed her, and with his usual desire for gain, came with her secretly. Then with smooth and cunning words, he said: "Do not delay, Hecuba: give me your gift to your son! It will all be for him, both what you give and what was given before, I swear by the gods."
She gazed at him, grimly, as he spoke and swore his lying oath, till, her seething anger boiling over, she called on her train of captive women to attack the man, and drove her nails into his deceitful eyes, and (made strong by anger) tore the eyeballs from their sockets, and dipped her hand, and drank, stained with his sinful blood, not from his eyes (nothing of them remained) but from the holes that were his eyes.
The Thracians, enraged by the murder of their king, attacked the Trojan woman, hurling stones and missiles, but she chased the stones they threw, snapping at them with a harsh growling, and, readying her jaws for words, barked when she tried to speak. The place is still there, and takes its name, Cynossema, the Monument of the Bitch, from this, and she still howls mournfully amongst the Sithonian fields, remembering endlessly her ancient suffering.
Her fate moved the Trojans and her enemies the Greeks, and it moved all the gods as well, yes, all, so that even Juno, Jove's sister-wife, said that Hecuba did not merit such misfortune.

Aurora and the Memnonides

But Aurora had no time for being moved by the fall and ruin of Hecuba and Troy, though she had aided its defence. A closer sorrow, and a private grief tormented her, the loss of her son Memnon, whom she, his bright mother, had seen wasted by Achilles's spear on the Phrygian plain. She saw it, and that colour, that reddens the dawn, paled, and the sky was covered with cloud. His mother could not bear to look at his body laid on the summit of the funeral pyre, but with dishevelled hair, just as she was, she did not scorn to fall at the feet of mighty Jove, adding tears to these words: "I am the least of all, whom the golden heavens hold (since temples to me are the rarest in all the world), yet I come as a goddess: though not that you might give me sanctuaries, or sacred days, or altars to flame with sacrificial fires. Yet if you considered what I, as a woman, do for you, when each new dawn I keep the borders of night, you would think to give me some reward. But that is not my care, nor Aurora's errand, to ask for well-merited honours.
I come bereft of my Memnon, who bore arms bravely, but in vain, for his uncle Priam, and in his youth has fallen to mighty Achilles (so you willed). I beg you to grant him some honour, as a solace for his death, great king of the gods, and lessen a mother's wound!" Jupiter nodded, while Memnon's steep pyre collapsed in leaping flames, and the daylight was stained with columns of black smoke, like the river-fog the naiad breathes out, that does not admit the light beneath it. Dark ashes flew upwards, and gathering into a ball and solidifying, they formed a shape, and it drew life and heat from the fire (its own lightness giving it wings). At first resembling a bird, then a true bird, it clapped its wings, and innumerable sisters, sprung from the same natal source, sounded too. Three times they circled the pyre, and three times their clamour rose in the air in consonance, on the fourth flight the flock divided. Then in two separate fierce bands they made war, wielding beaks and hooked talons in rage, wearying wing and breast in the struggle.
Remembering they were sprung from a brave hero, they fell as offerings to the buried ashes of their kinsman's body. The source of these suddenly created birds gave them his name: from him they were called the Memnonides: and when the sun has transited his twelve signs, they war and die again in ritual festival.
And so, while others wept to witness Hecuba's baying, Aurora was intent on her own grief, and even now she sheds tears, and wets the whole world with dew.

I was sitting with my eyes closed. Always seeing with the eyes open, man is forgetting the art of seeing with closed eyes. What is seen with open eyes is nothing compared to what is seen with the eyes closed. The tiny eyelids separates and joins two worlds.

When I close my eyes I arrive in the infinite. When I close my eyes, the doors of the infinite open. On one side one sees the seen and on the other, the seer.

But how many people remain outside even after closing their eyes? The eyes are not closed just by shutting them. The eyes are closed but the external pictures are still descending. This is not the closing of the eyes.

The closing of the eyes means emptiness, freedom from dreams and thoughts. When thoughts and scenes disappear, the eyes are closed. What then manifests is the eternal consciousness. That is truth, that is consciousness, that is bliss. The whole game is in the eyes. The eye transformed, everything is transformed.

Las hojas secas
son como el testamento
de los castaños.

La mariposa
recordará por siempre
que fue gusano.

Si no se esfuman
hay que tener cuidado
con los fantasmas.

Me gustaría mirar
todo de lejos
pero contigo.

pasan las nubes
y el cielo queda limpio
de toda culpa

llueve sin ruido
pero bajo el paragüas
funciona el beso


Tendido sobre la hierba
mis sueños.

Lirios, pensad
que se halla de viaje
el que os mira.

La hierba reverdece
Sin ayuda de nadie
La flor florece

Los crisantemos
se incorporan, etéreos
tras el chubasco.

Por más que digo "¡ven, ven!"
la luciérnaga
pasa volando.

El ruiseñor
unos días no viene,
otros dos veces.

Con un farol
pasea en el jardín,
sufre al ver morir la primavera.

Se va la primavera.
Lloran las aves, son lágrimas
los ojos de los peces.

Azada en pie
nadie a su alrededor.
Sólo calor.

El peor, el peor,
el peor lugar,
salvo por su frescura.

Las cortesanas
quisieran ver el campo
de violetas.

Canto de cigarra.
Aunque no lo parece,
pronto morirá.

Honda belleza,
la hojarasca cubriendo
a varios Budas.

Rana verde
¿estás recién pintada?

Con la cabeza erguida
también el caracol
se me parece.

Trino de alondra
que absorbes todo,
hasta el vacío.

Olas grises

Llueve en el mar con un murmullo lento.
La brisa gime tanto, que da pena.
El día es largo y triste. El elemento
duerme el sueño pesado de la arena.

Llueve. La lluvia lánguida trasciende
su olor de flor helada y desabrida.
El día es largo y triste. Uno comprende
que la muerte es así…, que la vida es así.

Sigue lloviendo. El día es triste y largo.
En el remoto gris se abisma el ser.
Llueve… Y uno quisiera, sin embargo,
que no acabara nunca de llover.

Leopoldo Lugones


hoy llueve mucho, mucho,
y pareciera que están lavando el mundo
mi vecino de al lado mira la lluvia
y piensa escribir una carta de amor/
una carta a la mujer que vive con él
y le cocina y le lava la ropa y hace el amor con él
y se parece a su sombra/
mi vecino nunca le dice palabras de amor a la
entra a la casa por la ventana y no por la puerta/
por una puerta se entra a muchos sitios/
al trabajo, al cuartel, a la cárcel,
a todos los edificios del mundo/ pero no al mundo/
ni a una mujer/ni al alma/
es decir/a ese cajón o nave o lluvia que llamamos así/
como hoy/que llueve mucho/
y me cuesta escribir la palabra amor/
porque el amor es una cosa y la palabra amor es otra cosa/
y sólo el alma sabe dónde las dos se encuentran/
y cuándo/y cómo/
pero el alma qué puede explicar/
por eso mi vecino tiene tormentas en la boca/
palabras que naufragan/
palabras que no saben que hay sol porque nacen y
mueren la misma noche en que amó/
y dejan cartas en el pensamiento que él nunca
como el silencio que hay entre dos rosas/
o como yo/que escribo palabras para volver
a mi vecino que mira la lluvia/
a la lluvia/
a mi corazón desterrado/

Juan Gelman


Amou daquela vez como se fosse a ultima
Beijou sua mulher como se fosse a ultima
E cada filho seu como se fosse o unico
E atravessou a rua com seu passo timido
Subiu a construçao como se fosse
Ergueu no patamar quatro paredes sólidas
Tijolo com tijolo num desenho magico
Seus olhos embotados de cimento e lagrima
Sentou pra descansar como se fosse sabado
Comeu feijao com arroz como se fosse um principe
Bebeu e solucou como se fosse um naufrago
Dancou e gargalhou como se ouvisse musica
E tropecou no céu como se fosse um bebado
E flutuou no ar como se fosse um passaro
E se acbou no chao feito um pacote flacido
Agonizou no meio do passeio publico
Morreu na contramao atrapalhando o trafego

Amou daquela vez como se fosse o ultimo
Beijou sua mulher como se fosse a unica
E cada filho seu como se fosse o pródigo
E atravessou a rua com seu passo
Subiu a construçao como se fosse
Ergueu no patamar quatro paredes magicas
Tijolo com tijolo num desenho lógico
Seus olhos embotados de cimento e trafego
Sentou pra descansar como se fosse um principe
Comeu feijao com arroz como se fosse máximo
Bebeu e solucou como se fosse machina
Dancou e gargalhou como se fosse o próximo
E tropecou no céu como se ouvisse
E flutuou no ar como se fosse sabado
E se acabou no chao feito um pacote timido
Agonizou no meio do
passeio naufrago
Morreu na contramao atrapalhando o publico

Amou daquela vez como se fosse maquina
Beijou sua mulher como se fosse lógico
Ergueu no patamar quatro paredes flacidas
Sentou pra descansar como se fosse um passaro
E flutuou no ar como se fosse um principe
E se acabou no chao feito um pacote bebado
Morreu na contramao atrapalhando o sabado

Por esse pão prá comer,
por esse chão prá dormir
A certidão prá nascer
e a concessão prá sorrir
Por me deixar respirar,
por me deixar existir,
“Deus lhe pague“

Pela cachaça de graça que a gente tem que engolir
Pela fumaça e a desgraça, que a gente tem que tossir
Pelos andaimes pingentes que a gente tem que cair,
“Deus lhe pague“

Pela mulher carpideira prá nos louvar e cuspir
E pelas moscas bicheiras a nos beijar e cobrir
E pela paz derradeira que enfim vai nos redimir,
“Deus lhe pague“

Letra de
Chico Buarque


He loved that time as if for the last time
He kissed his wife as if she was the last one
And every son as they were the only one
And he crossed the street with a timid step.
He climbed the construction like a machine
He built on the balcony four solid walls
Brick by brick in a magic design,
his eyes flooded with cement and
He sat to rest as on a Saturday
He ate rice like he was a prince 
Drank and wept like he was
Danced and laughed as if there was
And stumbled in the sky with his drunken pace;
he floated in the air like he was a bird
And ended on the floor as a flaccid lump
agonizing in the middle of the public street
And died on the highway disturbing the

He loved that time as if he were the last one
He kissed his like she was unique
And every son like he was prodigal
And crossed the street with his drunken step
He climbed the construction like it was solid
He built on the balcony four magic walls
Brick by brick with a logical design
his eyes flooded with cement and traffic
He sat to rest like he was a
He ate his poor rice like it was top food
Drank and wept like a machine
Danced and laughed like he was the
next one
And stumbled in the sky like there was music
He floated in the air like it was Saturday
And ended on the floor like a timid lump
Agonizing in the middle of the shipwrecked street
He died on the highway disturbing the

He loved that time like he was a machine
He kissed his wife like it was logical
He built on the balcony four flaccid walls
He sat to rest like he was a
And floated in the air like he was a prince
And ended on the floor like a drunken lump
He died on the highway disturbing the

For that bread we must eat,
for that floor we sleep on
for the Licence to be born
and the Permit to laugh,
for granting us some air to breath
for letting us exist
“may God repay you“

For that rubbishy alcohol people must drink
For the fumes and the misery people must cough
For the quivering buildings people climb and fall of
“may God repay you“

For that harpy one day will insult us and spit on us
For the flies and their kisses covering our
For the ulterior peace that some day will redeem us
“may God repay you“

Lyrics by
Chico Buarque

A imagen y semejanza

Era la última hormiga de la caravana, y no pudo seguir la ruta de sus compañeras. Un terrón de azúcar había resbalado desde lo alto, quebrándose en varios terroncitos. Uno de éstos le interceptaba el paso. Por un instante la hormiga quedó inmóvil sobre el papel color crema. Luego, sus patitas delanteras tantearon el terrón. Retrocedió, después se detuvo. Tomando sus patas traseras como casi punto fijo de apoyo, dio una vuelta alrededor de sí misma en el sentido de las agujas de un reloj. Sólo entonces se acercó de nuevo. Las patas delanteras se estiraron, en un primer intento de alzar el azúcar, pero fracasaron. Sin embargo, el rápido movimiento hizo que el terrón quedara mejor situado para la operación de carga. Esta vez la hormiga acometió lateralmente su objetivo, alzó el terrón y lo sostuvo sobre su cabeza. Por un instante pareció vacilar, luego reinició el viaje, con un andar bastante más lento que el que traía. Sus compañeras ya estaban lejos, fuera del papel, cerca del zócalo. La hormiga se detuvo, exactamente en el punto en que la superficie por la que marchaba, cambiaba de color. Las seis patas hollaron una N mayúscula y oscura. Después de una momentánea detención, terminó por atravesarla. Ahora la superficie era otra vez clara. De pronto el terrón resbaló sobre el papel, partiéndose en dos. La hormiga hizo entonces un recorrido que incluyó una detenida inspección de ambas porciones, y eligió la mayor. Cargó con ella, y avanzó. En la ruta, hasta ese instante libre, apareció una colilla aplastada. La bordeó lentamente, y cuando reapareció al otro lado del pucho, la superficie se había vuelto nuevamente oscura porque en ese instante el tránsito de la hormiga tenía lugar sobre una A. Hubo una leve corriente de aire, como si alguien hubiera soplado. Hormiga y carga rodaron. Ahora el terrón se desarmó por completo. La hormiga cayó sobre sus patas y emprendió una enloquecida carrerita en círculo. Luego pareció tranquilizarse. Fue hacia uno de los granos de azúcar que antes había formado parte del medio terrón, pero no lo cargó. Cuando reinició su marcha no había perdido la ruta. Pasó rápidamente sobre una D oscura, y al reingresar en la zona clara, otro obstáculo la detuvo. Era un trocito de algo, un palito acaso tres veces más grande que ella misma. Retrocedió, avanzó, tanteó el palito, se quedó inmóvil durante unos segundos. Luego empezó la tarea de carga. Dos veces se resbaló el palito, pero al final quedó bien afirmado, como una suerte de mástil inclinado. Al pasar sobre el área de la segunda A oscura, el andar de la hormiga era casi triunfal. Sin embargo, no había avanzado dos centímetros por la superficie clara del papel, cuando algo o alguien movió aquella hoja y la hormiga rodó, más o menos replegada sobre sí misma. Sólo pudo reincorporarse cuando llegó a la madera del piso. A cinco centímetros estaba el palito. La hormiga avanzó hasta él, esta vez con parsimonia, como midiendo cada séxtuple paso. Así y todo, llegó hasta su objetivo, pero cuando estiraba las patas delanteras, de nuevo corrió el aire y el palito rodó hasta detenerse diez centímetros más allá, semicaído en una de las rendijas que separaban los tablones del piso. Uno de los extremos, sin embargo, emergía hacia arriba. Para la hormiga, semejante posición representó en cierto modo una facilidad, ya que pudo hacer un rodeo a fin de intentar la operación desde un ángulo más favorable. Al cabo de medio minuto, la faena estaba cumplida. La carga, otra vez alzada, estaba ahora en una posición más cercana a la estricta horizontalidad. La hormiga reinició la marcha, sin desviarse jamás de su ruta hacia el zócalo. Las otras hormigas, con sus respectivos víveres, habían desaparecido por algún invisible agujero. Sobre la madera, la hormiga avanzaba más lentamente que sobre el papel. Un nudo, bastante rugoso de la tabla, significó una demora de más de un minuto. El palito estuvo a punto de caer, pero un particular vaivén del cuerpo de la hormiga aseguró su estabilidad. Dos centímetros más y un golpe resonó. Un golpe aparentemente dado sobre el piso. Al igual que las otras, esa tabla vibró y la hormiga dio un saltito involuntario, en el curso del cual, perdió su carga. El palito quedó atravesado en el tablón contiguo. El trabajo siguiente fue cruzar la hendidura, que en ese punto era bastante profunda. La hormiga se acercó al borde, hizo un leve avance erizado de alertas, pero aún así se precipitó en aquel abismo de centímetro y medio. Le llevó varios segundos rehacerse, escalar el lado opuesto de la hendidura y reaparecer en la superficie del siguiente tablón. Ahí estaba el palito. La hormiga estuvo un rato junto a él, sin otro movimiento que un intermitente temblor en las patas delanteras. Después llevó a cabo su quinta operación de carga. El palito quedó horizontal, aunque algo oblicuo con respecto al cuerpo de la hormiga. Esta hizo un movimiento brusco y entonces la carga quedó mejor acomodada. A medio metro estaba el zócalo. La hormiga avanzó en la antigua dirección, que en ese espacio casualmente se correspondía con la veta. Ahora el paso era rápido, y el palito no parecía correr el menor riesgo de derrumbe. A dos centímetros de su meta, la hormiga se detuvo, de nuevo alertada. Entonces, de lo alto apareció un pulgar, un ancho dedo humano y concienzudamente aplastó carga y hormiga.

Mario Benedetti

Continuidad de los parques

Había empezado a leer la novela unos días antes. La abandonó por negocios urgentes, volvió a abrirla cuando regresaba en tren a la finca; se dejaba interesar lentamente por la trama, por el dibujo de los personajes. Esa tarde, después de escribir una carta a su apoderado y discutir con el mayordomo una cuestión de aparcerías volvió al libro en la tranquilidad del estudio que miraba hacia el parque de los robles. Arrellanado en su sillón favorito de espaldas a la puerta que lo hubiera molestado como una irritante posibilidad de intrusiones, dejó que su mano izquierda acariciara una y otra vez el terciopelo verde y se puso a leer los últimos capítulos. Su memoria retenía sin esfuerzo los nombres y las imágenes de los protagonistas; la ilusión novelesca lo ganó casi en seguida. Gozaba del placer casi perverso de irse desgajando línea a línea de lo que lo rodeaba, y sentir a la vez que su cabeza descansaba cómodamente en el terciopelo del alto respaldo, que los cigarrillos seguían al alcance de la mano, que más allá de los ventanales danzaba el aire del atardecer bajo los robles. Palabra a palabra, absorbido por la sórdida disyuntiva de los héroes, dejándose ir hacia las imágenes que se concertaban y adquirían color y movimiento, fue testigo del último encuentro en la cabaña del monte. Primero entraba la mujer, recelosa; ahora llegaba el amante, lastimada la cara por el chicotazo de una rama. Admirablemente restallaba ella la sangre con sus besos, pero él rechazaba las caricias, no había venido para repetir las ceremonias de una pasión secreta, protegida por un mundo de hojas secas y senderos furtivos. El puñal se entibiaba contra su pecho, y debajo latía la libertad agazapada. Un diálogo anhelante corría por las páginas como un arroyo de serpientes, y se sentía que todo estaba decidido desde siempre. Hasta esas caricias que enredaban el cuerpo del amante como queriendo retenerlo y disuadirlo, dibujaban abominablemente la figura de otro cuerpo que era necesario destruir. Nada había sido olvidado: coartadas, azares, posibles errores. A partir de esa hora cada instante tenía su empleo minuciosamente atribuido. El doble repaso despiadado se interrumpía apenas para que una mano acariciara una mejilla. Empezaba a anochecer.
Sin mirarse ya, atados rígidamente a la tarea que los esperaba, se separaron en la puerta de la cabaña. Ella debía seguir por la senda que iba al norte. Desde la senda opuesta él se volvió un instante para verla correr con el pelo suelto. Corrió a su vez, parapetándose en los árboles y los setos, hasta distinguir en la bruma malva del crepúsculo la alameda que llevaba a la casa. Los perros no debían ladrar, y no ladraron. El mayordomo no estaría a esa hora, y no estaba. Subió los tres peldaños del porche y entró. Desde la sangre galopando en sus oídos le llegaban las palabras de la mujer: primero una sala azul, después una galería, una escalera alfombrada. En lo alto, dos puertas. Nadie en la primera habitación, nadie en la segunda. La puerta del salón, y entonces el puñal en la mano. la luz de los ventanales, el alto respaldo de un sillón de terciopelo verde, la cabeza del hombre en el sillón leyendo una novela.

Julio Cortázar


Souvent, pour s'amuser, les hommes d'équipage
Prennent des albatros, vastes oiseaux des mers,
Qui suivent, indolents compagnons de voyage,
Le navire glissant sur les gouffres amers.

A peine les ont-ils déposés sur les planches,
Que ces rois de l'azur, maladroits et honteux,
Laissent piteusement leurs grandes ailes blanches
Comme des avirons traîner à coté d'eux.

Ce voyageur ailé, comme il est gauche et veule!
Lui, naguère si beau, qu'il est comique et laid!
L'un agace son bec avec un brûle-gueule,
L'autre mime, en boitant, l'infirme qui volait!

Le Poête est semblable au prince des nuées
Qui hante la tempête et se rit de l'archer;
Exilé sur le sol au milieu des huées,
Ses ailes de géant l'empêchent de marcher.

Charles Baudelaire


Sur l'onde calme et noire où dorment les étoiles
La blanche Ophélia flotte comme un grand lys,
Flotte très lentement, couchée en ses longs voiles...
- On entend dans les bois lointains des hallalis.

Voici plus de mille ans que la triste Ophélie
Passe, fantôme blanc, sur le long fleuve noir.
Voici plus de mille ans que sa douce folie
Murmure sa romance à la brise du soir.

Le vent baise ses seins et déploie en corolle
Ses grands voiles bercés mollement par les eaux;
Les saules frissonnants pleurent sur son épaule,
Sur son grand front rêveur s'inclinent les roseaux.

Les nénuphars froissés soupirent autour d'elle;
Elle éveille parfois, dans un aune qui dort,
Quelque nid, d'où s'échappe un petit frisson d'aile:
- Un chant mystérieux tombe des astres d'or.

Ô pâle Ophélia ! belle comme la neige !
Oui tu mourus, enfant, par un fleuve emporté !
- C'est que les vents tombant des grands monts de Norwège
T'avaient parlé tout bas de l'âpre liberté;

C'est qu'un souffle, tordant ta grande chevelure,
A ton esprit rêveur portait d'étranges bruits;
Que ton coeur écoutait le chant de la Nature
Dans les plaintes de l'arbre et les soupirs des nuits;

C'est que la voix des mers folles, immense râle,
Brisait ton sein d'enfant, trop humain et trop doux;
C'est qu'un matin d'avril, un beau cavalier pâle,
Un pauvre fou, s'assit muet à tes genoux !

Ciel ! Amour ! Liberté ! Quel rêve, ô pauvre Folle !
Tu te fondais à lui comme une neige au feu:
Tes grandes visions étranglaient ta parole
- Et l'Infini terrible effara ton oeil bleu !

- Et le Poète dit qu'aux rayons des étoiles
Tu viens chercher, la nuit, les fleurs que tu cueillis;
Et qu'il a vu sur l'eau, couchée en ses longs voiles,
La blanche Ophélia flotter, comme un grand lys.

Arthur Rimbaud

As brumas do futuro

Sim, foi assim que a minha mão
surgiu de entre o silêncio obscuro
e com cuidado, guardou lugar
à flor da Primavera e a tudo

manhã de Abril
e um gesto puro
coincidiu com a multidão
que tudo esperava e descobriu
que a razão de um povo inteiro
leva tempo a construir

ficámos nós
só a pensar
se o gesto fora bem seguro

ficámos nós a hesitar
por entre as brumas do futuro

a outra acção prudente
que termo dava
à solidão da gente
que desesperava
na calada e fria noite
de uma terra inconsolável

com a sensação
que tínhamos mudado o mundo
na madrugada
a multidão
gritava os sonhos mais profundos

mas além disso
um outro breve início
deixou palavras de ordem
nos muros da cidade
quebrando as leis do medo
foi mostrando os caminhos
e a cada um a voz
que a voz de cada era
a sua voz
a sua voz

Lyrics by Madredeus

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

E. E. Cummings

if strangers meet
if strangers meet
life begins-
not poor not rich
(only aware)
kind neither
nor cruel
(only complete)
i not not you
not possible;
only truthful
if strangers(who
deep our most are

(and so to dark)

E. E. Cummings

i like my body when it is with your

i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite a new thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like,, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh . . . . And eyes big Love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill

of under me you quite so new

E. E. Cummings

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