nocturno

A night,
a night quite full of murmurs, of perfumes,
and the music of wings:
a night
when the fantastic glow-worms burn
in the nuptial, humid darkness,
and, along the flowery path which crosses the field, you walked,
silent and pale, pressed up against me,
as if a presentiment of infinite bitterness
was troubling the most secret depths of your heart;
and the full moon scattered her
white light
through the bluish,
infinite and profound skies;
and your shadow,
agile
and graceful,
delicate
and languid,
and my shadow, projected by the moonbeams
across the sad sands of the path,
joined and were one,
and were one,
and were one
and were one single long shadow,
and were one single long shadow,
and were one single long shadow …

Tonight,
alone; the soul
full of the infinite bitterness and agonies
of your death,
separated from you yourself by time,
by the tomb and distance,
by the black infinitude
where our voice will not carry,
dumb and alone
I walked along the path,
and the barking of dogs to the moon,
to the pallid moon,
was heard,
and the croaking of the frogs…
I felt chill. It was the chill which, in your bedroom,
was held in your cheeks, in your brows, and your beloved hands,
amongst the snowy whitenesses of your burial-sheets.
It was the chill of the sepulcher, it was the ice of death,
it was the chill of nothingness…
And my shadow,
projected by the moonbeams,
passed on alone,
passed on alone,
passed on alone through the solitary plain,
and your shadow, agile and graceful,
delicate and languid,
as on that warm night of that dead spring,
as on that night full of murmurs, perfumes,
and the music of wings,
came up to and walked with mine,
came up to and walked with mine,
came up to and walked with mine…
Oh, the embraces of shadows!
Oh, the shadows of the bodies
which join the shadows of the souls!
Oh the shadows which seek each other
in the nights of sorrows and tears!…

José Asunción Silva

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rivers

With the Rhine, the Rhone, the Ebro,
my eyes are filled.
With the Tiber, the Thames,
the Volga, the Danube,
my eyes are filled.

But I know the Plata,
and I know the Amazon bathes.
But I know the Mississippi,
and I know the Magdalena bathes.
I know the Almendares,
and I know the San Lorenzo bathes.
I know the Orinoco,
I know they bathe lands of bitter slime where my voice blooms,
and languid jungles chained by bloody roots.
America, I drink from your cup,
from your tin cup,
great rivers of tears!
Oh, leave me, leave me,
leave me now
…close to the water.

Nicolás Cristóbal Guillén Batista

my country’s tears

We are now wholly – nay more than wholly – devastated!
The band of presumptuous nations, the blaring trumpet,
the sword greasy with blood, the thundering cannon
have consumed everyone’s sweat and industry and provisions.
The towers are on fire, the church is cast down, the town hall lies in ruins,
the strong are maimed, the virgins raped,
and wherever we look there is [nothing but] fire,
plague, and death that pierces heart and mind.
Here through the bulwarks and the town ever-fresh blood is running.
Three times six years ago the water of our rivers
slowly found its way past the corpses that almost blocked it;
but I will say nothing of what is worse than death itself,
more dreadful than the plague and fire and famine –
that so many have been despoiled of the treasure of the soul.

Andreas Gryphius

eyes

Above the bed the roof leaked,
no place was dry,
And the raindrops ran down like strings,
without a break.
I have lived through upheavals and ruin
and have seldom slept very well,
But have no idea how I shall pass
this night of soaking.

Du Fu

ethereal beaty

Upon my sleeve,
Plum blossoms pour their fragrance,
Vying in beauty
With moonbeams filtering through the
eaves
And sparkling in the wetness of my tears.

Fujiwara Teika