Back to Poetry - Rhina P. Espaillat - Rafael Arévalo Martínez - Rosalia Castro - Manuel Gonzalez Prada

 

The Man-Wolves by Rafael Arévalo Martínez Translated by Rhina P. Espaillat

 

 

First I said, “Brothers,” and put out my hand;

lamb after lamb, then, vanished from its stall;

my soul unlearned the sound of “brothers,” and—

there, when I went to look—wolves, one and all!

 

What ailed my soul that marched ahead, so blind,

my poor, sad soul that dreams and warms to friends?

How, as they loped, could I mistake their kind?

How, in their eyes, miss their rapacious ends?

 

Then I, also a wolf, left the straight way;

then I, a wolf, bedded in dirt, and then

in each one found a brother, till one day—

There, when I went to look—they were all men!

 

 

 

(from The Banks of the Sar)  #321 by Rosalia Castro Translated by Rhina P. Espaillat

 

 

A quiet river and a narrow road,

a solitary field, pines in a wood,

and the old bridge plain in its country look

compose a pleasant kind of solitude.

 

What is it, solitude? To fill the world

sometimes it seems a single thought will do.

And yet, today, though beautiful, the bridge,

river and pines are not enough for you.

 

It is not cloud or flower that earn your love,

but you yourself, my heart—happy or sad—

who judge where grief and pleasure both reside,

dry up the sea and make the arctic glad.

 

 

 

Grafitti by Manuel Gonzalez Prada Translated by Rhina P. Espaillat

 

 

When man appears to plead his case with Thee,

accused or plaintiff, Lord: which shall he be?

 

                                    *

 

Life, though it’s true you are an idiot’s tune,

one great virtue is yours: you’re over soon.

 

                                    *

 

She answers with a “No.” But noting, then,

the way she says it, I inquire, “When?”