translated by Alejandro Cáceres Joseph

In the bosom of the sad evening
I called upon your sorrow… Feeling it was
Feeling your heart as well. You were pale
Even your voice, your waxen eyelids,

Lowered… and remained silent… You seemed
To hear death passing by… I who had opened
Your wound bit on it‚ÄĒdid you feel me?‚ÄĒ
As into the gold of a honeycomb I bit!

I squeezed even more treacherously, sweetly
Your heart mortally wounded,
By the cruel dagger, rare and exquisite,
Of a nameless illness, until making it bleed in sobs!
And the thousand mouths of my damned thirst
I offered to that open fountain in your suffering.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  

Why was I your vampire of bitterness?
Am I a flower or a breed of an obscure species
That devours sores and gulps tears?

 


El vampiro

En el regazo de la tarde triste
Yo invoqué tu dolor… Sentirlo era
Sentirte el corazón! Palideciste
Hasta la voz, tus p√°rpados de cera,

Bajaron… y callaste… y pareciste
Oír pasar la Muerte… Yo que abriera
Tu herida mord√≠ en ella ‚ÄĒ¬Ņme sentiste? ‚ÄĒ
Como en el oro de un panal mordiera!

Y exprimí más, traidora, dulcemente
Tu corazón herido mortalmente,
Por la cruel daga rara y exquisita
De un mal sin nombre, hasta sangrarlo en llanto!
Y las mil bocas de mi sed maldita
Tendí á esa fuente abierta en tu quebranto.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  

¬ŅPor qu√© fui tu vampiro de amargura?‚Ķ
¬ŅSoy flor √≥ estirpe de una especie obscura
Que come llagas y que bebe el llanto?

From Selected Poetry of Delmira Agustini: Poetics of Eros, published by Southern Illinois University Press. Translation copyright and selection © 2003 by Alejandro Cáceres. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on October 31, 2020.

Along the still cold plain o’erhead,
  In pale embattled crowds.
The stars their tents of darkness spread,
  And camped among the clouds;
Cinctured with shadows, like a wraith,
  Night moaned along the lea;
Like the blue hungry eye of Death,
  Shone the perfidious sea;
The moon was wearing to the wane,
  The winds were wild and high,
And a red meteor's flaming mane
  Streamed from the northern sky.

Across the black and barren moor,
  Her dainty bosom bare;
And white lips sobbing evermore,
  Rides Eleanor the fair.
So hath the pining sea-maid plained
  For love of mortal lips,
Riding the billows, silver-reined.
  Hard by disastrous ships.

Why covers she her mournful eyes?
  Why do her pulses cease,
As if she saw before her rise
  The ghost of murdered Peace?
From out her path the ground-bird drifts
  With wildly startled calls,
The moonlight snake its white fold lifts
  From where her shadow falls.

Ah me! I that delicate hand of hers,
  Now trembling like a reed.
Like to the ancient mariner’s
  Hath done a hellish deed;
And full of mercy were the frown
  Which might the power impart
To press the eternal darkness down
Against her bleeding heart.

This poem is in the public domain.

October is the month that seems
All woven with midsummer dreams; 
She brings for us the golden days
That fill the air with smoky haze, 
She brings for us the lisping breeze
And wakes the gossips in the trees, 
Who whisper near the vacant nest 
Forsaken by its feathered guest. 
Now half the birds forget to sing, 
And half of them have taken wing, 
Before their pathway shall be lost
Beneath the gossamer of frost. 
Zigzag across the yellow sky, 
They rustle here and flutter there, 
Until the boughs hang chill and bare, 
What joy for us‚ÄĒwhat happiness¬†
Shall cheer the day the night shall bless? 
’Tis hallowe’en, the very last 
Shall keep for us remembrance fast, 
When every child shall duck the head
To find the precious pippin red. 

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on October 27, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets. 

It was down in the woodland on last Hallowe’en,
   Where silence and darkness had built them a lair,
That I felt the dim presence of her, the unseen,
   And heard her still step on the hush-haunted air.
 
It was last Hallowe’en in the glimmer and swoon
   Of mist and of moonlight, where once we had sinned,
That I saw the gray gleam of her eyes in the moon,
   And hair, like a raven, blown wild on the wind.
 
It was last Hallowe’en where starlight and dew
   Made mystical marriage on flower and leaf,
That she led me with looks of a love, that I knew
   Was dead, and the voice of a passion too brief.
 
It was last Hallowe’en in the forest of dreams,
   Where trees are eidolons and flowers have eyes,
That I saw her pale face like the foam of far streams,
   And heard, like the night-wind, her tears and her sighs.
 
It was last Hallowe’en, the haunted, the dread,
   In the wind-tattered wood, by the storm-twisted pine,
That I, who am living, kept tryst with the dead,
   And clasped her a moment who once had been mine.
 

From The Poems of Madison Cawein: Volume V: Poems of Meditation and of Forest and Field (Small, Maynard & Company, 1907) by Madison Julius Cawein. This poem is in the public domain.