rondel

Love, happiness and content
are birds of passage that
travel the blue of the firmament in a floating line,
breathe out a lament to the air,
and disperse in swift flight.

What are the thousands upon thousands
of generations that shine and sink at sunset,
that are born and succumb in millions?
Birds of passage.

Oh unhappy souls, it is useless
to bind yourself to the world with roots.
Powerful and mysterious impulses
carry us among shadows, aimlessly;
for we are, alas, but eternal wanderers.
Birds of passage.

Manuel González Prada

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VI. So farewell! . . . Yonder, austere and dark

So farewell! . . . Yonder, austere and dark,
you retreat across the sun-scorched plain,
and all down your shoulders your ardent tresses,
verberating, like a malediction.

In my desolation what awaits me? . . .
—already I scarce can see your dragging skirt—
a drifting down of spring’s young foliage
and endless longing for emerald past and gone.

The human cataclysm has destroyed
my heart and all expires that it holds . . .
perish memory and oblivion perish!

I glimpse you still and already forget your brow;
your back alone alas! I see, as that
is seen which flees eternity and recedes.

Manuel José Othón

complete image

Suddenly I saw myself,
a complete image,
with an expression
rehearsed over the years.
I was a man of crystal
who reflected the world,
holding nothing back.
I saw myself different
from the other images
of me alive
in the mirror:
a [darker] shadow on my head,
a [deeper] abyss at my feet,
a [thicker] wood within me;
the unconsciousness of a plant,
obedient to the breeze,
a reed of solitude,
no longer thinking,
— earthly solitude,
my only company! —
I saw myself in a fleeting reflection,
looking from outside
at the being who lives within,
a masked recluse
in his wandering seclusion.

Jorge Carrera Andrade

nobody’s perfect

To be a good man, without blame and without question,
foursquare founded hand and foot, mind also
faultless fashioned, is difficult.

Thus the word of Pittacus, but it does not
run right, though it was a wise man who said it:
that it is difficult to be excellent. Not difficult;
only a god could have this privilege; it is not possible
for a man not to go bad
when he has more bad luck than he can handle.
Any man is good while his luck is good,
bad when bad, and for the most part they are best
whom the gods love.

Therefore, I will not throw away my time and life
into unprofitable hope and emptiness, the search
for that object which cannot possibly be,
the Utterly Blameless Man among all of us who enjoy
man’s food on the wide earth.
But if I find one, I will let you know.
No, I admire all, am a friend of any
who of his own will does nothing shameful.
Against necessity not even the gods can fight.

I do not like to find fault.
Enough for me if one is not
bad, not too unsteady, knows
what is right and good for his city,
a sound man. I will not
look out his faults. For the generation
of fools is endless. Take anything as good
which is not soiled with shame.

Simonides

a spectre

The man who was returning from the dead
approached me, and my heart stood cold,
trembling and mute…Neither did he speak,
the man who came back from
the dead…

He was as silent as stone… Yet
in his self-absorbed expression
there was the solemn dread of one who has looked
at a great enigma and becomes the bearer
of the message that the whole globe awaits…
The man who did not speak paused at my side.

And his face and mine came together,
and there arose in my heart a violent desire
to ask questions…But, little by little,
the questions froze on my lips…

The evening shook with a loud howl
of a hurricane…And step by step
the man who came back from the dead
disappeared into the half-light of the declining day…

Enrique González Martínez

the poet and the king

One day, a solitary man
was brought before the King.
From the dazzling throne
the Monarch looked down upon him
and wanted to know
what elements made up the life
of this strange being…

Indulgent and patriarchal,
the King began with a gentle question:
Do you have a name?
,,No, Sire.”
A homeland, by any chance?
,,The whole world is where I live.”
Why does such bitterness
blossom in your voice?
Are you a free man or a slave?
,,I am free, yes, but, sad to say,
Sire, I am a poet!”

Rubén Darío

song to solitude

Sole of solitude and solitary and sole,
like the madman in the center of his madness,
I say what you have said to me
with the drowning voice of the sea in my ears,
made of ashes which sing.

I have heard your step, pastoral and naval,
of gazelle and anemone, falling across the time
of a dream woven by mutilated statues;
the lark dying under the snow,
the moss spelling life on the rock,
the harvest-fields of rain, the blind tunnel
which leads from the seed to the rose,
the beauty of the world, its greatest lamentation.
Conquered, I follow your frozen flame,
your deserted mirrors and your slow metals
which will never submit to the bells,
your footprint of burnt-out remain.

I do not know if you are the flesh or the bone of the fruit
of mystery and madness,
of the proud and awaited agony,
or if we are both dreaming ourselves
in the hurricane and in the sigh,
in the brief immensity of a blemish,
in that which I have wished for,
like water and fire in the blood,
like loves without forgetfulness.

I remember your repose of rain
falling over the sea.
Your anxiety of faithful ivy,
and of a little girl loved again.
I remember your pensive sorrows,
your dolorous joy, and your recumbent ecstasy
in my heart and in the morning stars.
Your pattern of cloud, unique and slow,
over a sky of sores; of useless weeping over pure death,
and a desolate hand in the immensity
of a body which yields itself.
You are not, I know, outside me, in the wind,
or in the farewell, the tomb or the defeat,
or in the snow which sometimes prolongs
the shadow of forgetfulness and the echo of nevermore.

Nor, when love was gone,
when a greater love had consumed me,
was she more part of me, her flesh and dream,
and her waking anxiety, and her blue,
sleepless grasp even became kissable.
And when suddenly all is sad,
because love comes complete,
as sad as if you had died,
ah! how close to me, [how] remote,
my dream in the homeland of dreams.

Already shadow less, with love, and without body,
in the clear fabric of silence,
which everything kisses into an enigma,
I remember myself after death.

The space where I taste and suffer
is a cascade of mourning of consoled stone
and a stain of damp on the wall.
And already I do not conceive of myself without being solitude itself
in the one time and place inside me.
Stony votive delirium of passion
where desire exists, unique and alone,
and love is terrible and eternal, and boundless.

You are the dull prolonged shout of the stone
against the living blood,
hurting its mystery of health and poppies.
Oh poesy! solitude and life,
first and eternal Eve,
who chops off
the hands of poor lovers?

I know my agonizing solitude,
sister of the dry myrtle and sleeping cupolas.
I know you are born like fire,
rubbing together two mysteries,
my dream and my skeleton.

Blood, tenaciously shed,
hears your ancient word,
seeking, solitude, your way.
When I die, if I ever know it,
I will be more in you, I will be your wheat,
your pulse and your inconsolable truth.
Oh poesy! solitude and death,
eternal and first Eve,
the sea is crying.

Solitude is not being alone with death
and being loved by her in life.
It is something sadder, dazzling and high;
it is to be alone with life.

Dying of thirst amid the seas,
your forms in my voice and other stars.
Solitude is in hope,
in triumph, in laughter and in the dance.

Luis Cardoza y Aragón