poem 174

[Although in vain, she wishes to convert the sufferings of a jealous man
to a rational process.]

What’s this, Alcino? How could your good sense
allow its own defeat by jealousy,
and show the world, in wild extremes of rage,
this spectacle of one gone mad or worse?
Now how has Celia hurt you, if she grieves?
Again, why do you blame Love of deceit
if he has never promised, for all his power,
lasting possession of such loveliness?
Our possession of temporal things
is temporal, my friend; it is abuse
to wish to guard them always as they were.
Your ignorance or your error I accuse,
because both Fate and Love, of things like these,
have given us not ownership, but use.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

poem 166

She resolves the question of which
be the more trying role in conflicting
relationships: to love or to abhor

That Fabio does not love me, though adored,
is grief unmatched by any I have known,
a lesser hurt, though no less bothersome,
is that Silvio loves me, he in turn abhorred.
What patience, sorely tried, would not deplore,
what ringing ear, assaulted, not bemoan,
the ever-plaintive sighs of one disowned,
the arrogance of a vain conqueror.
If I am bored by Silvio’s submission,
it bores Fabio to tears that I submit;
if from Fabio I forever court permission,
Silvio seeks from me what I permit;
if dual torment is to be my one condition,
both of loving and being loved I would be quit.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

poem 165

Which recounts how fantasy contents itself
with honorable love

Stay, shadow of contentment too short-lived,
illusion of enchantment I most prize,
fair image for whom happily I die,
sweet fiction for whom painfully I live.
If answering your charms’ imperative,
compliant, I like steel to magnet fly,
by what logic do you flatter and entice,
only to flee, a taunting fugitive?
‘Tis no triumph that you so smugly boast
that I fell victim to your tyranny;
though from encircling bonds that held you fast
your elusive form too readily slipped free,
and though to my arms you are forever lost,
you are a prisoner in my fantasy.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

poem 164

She answers suspicions in the rhetoric of tears

My love, this evening when I spoke with you,
and in your face and actions I could read
that arguments of words you would not heed,
my heart I longed to open to your view.
In this intention, Love my wishes knew
and, though they seemed impossible, achieved:
pouring in tears that sorrow had conceived,
with every beat my heart dissolved anew.
Enough of suffering, my love, enough:
let jealousy’s vile tyranny be banned,
let no suspicious thought your calm corrupt
with foolish gloom by futile doubt enhanced,
for now, this afternoon, you saw and touched
my heart, dissolved and liquid in your hands.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

poem 161 (III)

Inés, dear, with your love I am enraptured,
and as object of your love, I am enthralled
when gazing on your beauty I am captured,
but when I find you jealous, want to bawl.
I die of jealousy if others you entangle,
I tremble at your grace, your step sublime,
because I know, Inés, that you could mangle,
the humors of my systematic chyme.
When I hold your dainty hand, I am aquiver,
in your anger, feel that I must soon expire,
if you venture from your home I am adither,
so I say, Inés, to one thing I aspire,
that your love and my good wine will draw you hither,
and to tumble you to bed I can conspire.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

*One of five burlesque sonnets in which the poetess was circumscribed
by rhymes which had been determined; composed in a moment of relaxation

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

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