love’s madness

He seems as fortunate as the gods who
sits where he can look in your eyes, who listens
close to you, to hear the soft voice, its sweetness
murmur in love and

laughter, all for him. But it breaks my spirit;
sets my heart trembling in my breast.
For when I look at you for a moment, the voice dies,
I can say nothing,

but my lips are stricken to silence, underneath
my skin the tenuous flame suffuses;
nothing shows in front of my eyes, my ears are
muted in thunder.

And the sweat breaks running upon me,
a trembling seizes me all over, I am greener
than grass, and it seems to me that
I am little short of dying.

Sappho

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lyric monody

In spring time the Kydonian
quinces, watered by running streams,
there where the maiden nymphs have
their secret garden, and grapes that grow
round in shade of the tendriled vine,
ripen.

Now in this season for me
there is no rest from love.
Out of the hard bright sky,
a Thracian north wind blowing
with searing rages and hurt—dark,
pitiless, sent by Aphrodite—Love
rocks and tosses my heart.

Ibycus

the queen

I believe in nothing, in nothing…My,,Nothing’’
is like a furious night, full of the hurricane.
In its profound depths
my lineage was watered by gall.

A cold gust of wind, which freezes
ancient vigor to inaction, weeps in my reason.
Self-despising, I am wounded!
Self-despising, you have put gangrene
in my heart!

Neither a white love nor a hatred makes me tremble,
a blind form in limitless blackness;
and in rhythm after rhythm in my heart there seems
to be said in death-agony:,,Nothing…nothing…’’
My Muse was deceived by the Gods

Of the wandering breeze, of the lamp of the morning star,
of the trembling love of a young sailor,
in the night with its bishop’s robes of opal,
I ask:,,What enigma lies in you?’’ And my Muse
— through my flesh, illumined by tapers—
answers, desolate in her laurels:
— Nothing…
Oh Queen, rancorous, and in mourning!

Porfirio Barba-Jacob

song

Was it you who came
Or was it I who went—
I do not remember.
Was that dream or reality?
Was I asleep or awake?

Matsuo Bashō

midnight

It is delicate, midnight.
I hear the knots of the rosebush:
sap pushing upward rising to the rose.

I hear
the scorched stripes of the regal tiger:
they do not let him sleep.

I hear
a canto of one
as it grows in the night
like a dune.

I hear
my mother sleeping
with two breaths.
( I have slept in her,
for five years.)

I hear the Rhone
that descends and carries me like a father,
blind with blind foam.

And afterwards I hear nothing,
but keep falling
on the walls of Arles
full of sunlight…

Gabriela Mistral

the verb in the infinite

To be created, to beget oneself, to transform
love into flesh and flesh into love; to be born,
to breathe, and cry, and doze.
To nourish oneself to be able to cry

To be able to nourish oneself. And, one day,
to wake up to see the light, the world and hear
and begin to love and then smile and
then smile to be able to cry.

And grow, and know, and be, and have,
and lose, and suffer, and dread
to be and love, and feel oneself cursed

And forget everything when seeing a new love
and live that love until one dies
and go to conjugate the verb in the infinite…

Marcus Vinicius da Cruz e Mello Moraes

beside Christ’s lake in Aldehuela de Yeltes, on a night of full moon

White night in which the glassy water
sleeps quietly in its lake bed,
over which watches a round full moon
that leads its army of  stars,

and a round holm-oak is reflected
in the unrippling mirror,
white night in which the water acts as cradle
for the highest and most profound wisdom.

It is a tatter of sky that Nature holds
clasped in her arms, it is a tatter of sky
which has come down

and in the silence of the night prays
the prayer of the lover resigned
solely to love, which is his only riches.

Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo