This wind is
Wrapping me softly
Like your love.
I live, I die: I burn, I drown,
Amidst the cold, heat strikes me down
Too soft and too hard my life is to me
My great sorrows are mixed with glee.
All at once I laugh and I cry
And I endure great torment in pleasure.
My happiness flees, but lasts forever.
All at once I wilt and I thrive.
Thus inconstant love torments me.
Just as I think my pain has worsened
Without thinking so I am trouble-free.
Then when I believe my joy is certain
With happiness I so craved it fills me,
And sets me back to my first misfortune.
by Louise Labé (1524-1566)
Je vis, je meurs : je me brûle et me noie – I live, I die; I burn, I drown. (Sonnet VIII)
I have a need for your voice,
a longing for your company,
and an ache of melancholy
for the absence of signs of arrival.
Patience requires my torment,
the urgent need for you, heron of love,
your solar mercy for my frozen day,
your help, for my wound, I count on.
Ah, need, ache and longing!
Your kisses of substance, my food,
fail me, and I’m dying with the May.
I want you to come, the flower of your absence,
to calm the brow of thought
that ruins me with its eternal lightning.
by Miguel Hernandez
You Who Never Arrived
You who never arrived in my arms, Beloved, who were lost from the start, I don’t even know what songs would please you. I have given up trying to recognize you in the surging wave of the next moment. All the immense images in me — the far-off, deeply-felt landscape, cities, towers, and bridges, and unsuspected turns in the path, and those powerful lands that were once pulsing with the life of the gods– all rise within me to mean you, who forever elude me.
You, Beloved, who are all the gardens I have ever gazed at, longing. An open window in a country house– , and you almost stepped out, pensive, to meet me. Streets that I chanced upon,– you had just walked down them and vanished. And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors were still dizzy with your presence and, startled, gave back my too-sudden image. Who knows? Perhaps the same bird echoed through both of us yesterday, separate, in the evening…
Archaic Torso of Apollo
We cannot know his legendary head with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso is still suffused with brilliance from inside, like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low, gleams in all its power. Otherwise the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could a smile run through the placid hips and thighs to that dark center where procreation flared. Otherwise this stone would seem defaced beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders and would not glisten like a wild beast’s fur: would not, from all the borders of itself, burst like a star: for here there is no place that does not see you. You must change your life.
on your lips
Unfinished dreams wrapped
around your eyes
Unspoken tenderness confined
in your veins.
Sorrows relieved by dignity.
You will discover me
I will discover you
I will disappoint you
You will disappoint me
You will deny me
I will deny you
I will forget you
You will forget me
You will desire me
I will desire you
I will seek you out
You will seek me out
You will love me
I will love you