National Poetry Month: Excerpt from “Love Poems from Spain and Spanish America” edited by Perry Higman

from Love Poems from Spain and Spanish America


by Delmira Agustini

If life is love, blessed be it!
I want more life to love! Today I feel
a thousand years of ideas are worth nothing
next to one azure minute of feeling.

My heart was dying, sad and slow. . .
Now it blooms in light like a flower of Phoebus;
Life bursts like a violent sea
where the hand of love strikes its blow!

Today my melancholy, with broken wings
went out into the night, sad, cold;
like an old mark of sorrow

it dissolves in distant shadows. . .
My whole life laughs, kisses, sings!
My whole life is a mouth in bloom!

from El libro blanco, 1907

BEYOND by Vicente Aleixandre

Beyond life, my love, always farther beyond,
now ethereal, unique, upon a couch of stars,
we populate the limitless night, we live
without death, oh my beauty, an infinite night.

Weary of the world my head settles
softly on a bluish breast. I sense only
your blood now peopled with lights, with myriad
stars, and I kiss the soft pulse of the universe and touch
your face with the subtle radiance of my cheek.

Oh sad, oh grave total night. Beloved, you lie
perfect and I retrace you, embrace you. Solitary world.
Universal living of a body, made into lights,
you permit love beyond the life of a man.

from Poemas varios; 1927-1967, 1968


Some bodies are like flowers,
others like knives,
others like ribbons of water;
but all of them, sooner or later,
will be burns that spread on another body,
the power of fire turning a stone into a man.

But man grows aimlessly restless,
he dreams of liberties, he challenges the wind
until one day the burn is gone,
changing back into a stone that lies in no one’s way.

I, I am not a stone, but a pathway
crisscrossed by naked feet.
I am dying of love for them all;
my body is theirs to walk on,
though it lead them to ambition or to a cloud,
without one of them realizing
that ambitions or clouds
are not worth a willing love.

from Los placeres prohibidos, 1931

LOVE WAS RISING BETWEEN US. . . by Miguel Hernandez

Love was rising between us
like the moon between the two palm trees
that never embraced.

The intimate rustling of the two bodies
brought a ground-swell to the wooing,
but the husky voice was stifled.
The lips turned to stone.

The urge to join moved the flesh,
lit up the enflamed bones,
but arms reaching for
arms died.

Love, the moon, passed between us
and devoured our solitary bodies.
And we are two phantoms seeking each other,
and finding each other distant.

from Obra escogida, l952

SERENADE by Federico Garcia Lorca
(Homage to Lope de Vega)

Along the banks of the river
the night is getting wet
and on the breasts of Lolita
the branches are dying of love.

The branches are dying of love.

The night is singing naked
over the bridges of March.
Lolita is washing her body
with brackish water and nards.

The branches are dying of love.

The night of anise and silver
glares on the rooftops.
Silver of streams and mirrors.
Anise of your white thighs.

The branches are dying of love.

from Canciones; 1921-1924. 1927

FULL WOMAN, CARNAL APPLE. . . by Pablo Neruda

Full woman, carnal apple, hot moon,
dense aroma of crushed seaweed, mud and light,
what obscure clarity opens between your columns?
What ancient night does man touch with his senses?

Oh, loving is a journey with water and stars,
with stifled air and brusque tempests of flour:
loving is a combat of lightning bolts-
and two bodies defeated by a single drop of honey.

Kiss by kiss I traverse your small infinity,
your edges, your rivers, your tiny villages,
and the genital fire transformed into delicacy

runs along the slender paths of blood
until plunging headlong like a carnation of the night,
until it is and is no more than lightning in the darkness.

XII, from Cien sonetos de amor, 1959

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lovepoemscoverThe nearly seventy poems in this bilingual anthology, Love Poems from Spain and Spanish America, are concerned with many kinds of love: erotic love, sublime love, filial love, maternal love, and love between brother and sister. They also explore feelings of friendship, solidarity, and the altruistic love of all mankind. Ranging in time from the 13th century to the present day, these poems come from diverse traditions and countries-Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, and Uruguay. Includes a concise biographical sketch of each of the poets.

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