the walls, nothing else

Walls, nothing else.
Lifeless, noiseless,
Without harsh words,
Life lies inert.

Livid light escapes
And glass nerves its glass
Against uncertain night,
With its violent squalls.

Once more as it used to be
The house comes back to life;
Times are just the same,
Different eyes see.

Have I shut the door?
Oblivion opens
Its bare rooms for me,
Grey, white, airless.

But nobody sighs.
My hands have nothing
To hold but tears. Silence;
Darkness trembling; nothing.

Luis Cernuda

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annie

On the shores of Texas
Between Mobile and Galveston there is
A great garden filled with roses
There is also a villa
Which is one huge rose

A woman passes often
In the garden alone
And when I pace the road edged with lime trees
Our eyes meet

As she is a Mennonite
Her rose trees and her garments have no buttons
My jacket’s missing two
That lady and I observe almost the same rite

Guillaume Apollinaire

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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

what was life

What was life
what
what rotten apple
what leftover
what waste.

If it was a rose
if it was
a golden cloud
and should have flowered
light
in the air.

If it was a rose
if it was a gay flame
if it was anything
weightless
that causes
no pain
that is content to be
anything, anything
that is easy
easy.

It could not have been made up of corridors
of sordid dawns
of revulsion
of unlit tasks
of routines, of credits
it could not have been
it could not.

Not that
what it was
what it is
the dirty air
of the street
the winter
the many errors
the miseries
exhaustion

in a deserted world

Idea Vilariño

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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

the two slopes of time

The hair of that mountain
glistens with centuries,
frozen.

On this side of it,
and on the other,
it is the same; two slopes
of green mirrors.

I do not hurry;
I love to contemplate further from a peak of time
two slopes of mirrors.
When I want to, I say;
One is my body;
the other is my thought.

And it occurs to me to think:
one is the chain of habit,
the shadow of yesterday.
The other is freedom!

There I go!
My soul will go before the stars
that it has vaguely seen,
for it does not wear chains like them.
And eternity must lie in the future for me
and that is all,
because that is what thought believes,
in infancy,
and infancy is the only time when we are
truly prophets.

But the hair of time
glistens with centuries,
frozen.

Emilio Oribe

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