Poetry Tuesday: Cossante

From some part of the Iberian peninsula in the thirteenth century, Pero Meogo cuts a mysterious figure.

Tell me, daughter, my pretty daughter,
Why you waited by the cold water.
It was love, alas!

Tell me, daughter, my pretty daughter,
Why you waited by the cold water.
It was love, alas!

I waited, mother, by the cold fountain
While the deer came down the mountain.
It was love, alas!

I waited by the cold river, mother,
To see the deer, and not for any other.
It was love, alas!

You lie, daughter, you lie for your lover,
I never saw deer come down from cover.
It was love, alas!

You lie, daughter, for your lover by the fountain,
I never saw deer going up to the mountain.
It was love, alas!


Poetry Tuesday: Lachrimae Amantis

By Lope de Vega Carpio, 16th-17th Century Spain. Can’t help but wonder if this is where Ray Bradbury got the title for his story Frost and Fire.

What is there in my heart that you should sue
so fiercely for its love? What kind of care
brings you as though a stranger to my door
through the long night and in the icy dew

seeking the heart that will not harbor you,
that keeps itself religiously secure?
At this dark solstice filled with frost and fire
your passion’s ancient wounds must bleed anew.

So many nights the angel of my house
has fed such urgent comfort through a dream,
whispered ‘your lord is coming, he is close’

that I have drowsed half-faithful for a time
bathed in pure tones of promise and remorse:
‘tomorrow I shall wake to welcome him.’


Poetry Tuesday: When at the rising of the sun my nymph

Luis de Gongora, Spain, 1561-1627

When, at the rising of the sun, my nymph
Despoils the verdant field of flowers,
As many spring beneath her white feet
As she has gathered with lovely hand.

Wavelike is the breeze that flows
With fine gold, in illusory elegance,
Stirs the green leaves of dense poplars,
With the red light of breaking dawn.

But when she wreathes her lovely brow
With the various spoils in her dress
Putting an end to gold and snow

I swear her garland shines far brighter
Than flowers, and seems more star-like,
Formed of the nine orbs that light the sky.


Poetry Tuesday: On Lisi’s Golden Hair

By Francisco Gomez de Quevedo y Villegas (1580-1645)

When you shake loose your hair from all controlling,
Such thirst of beauty quickens my desire
Over its surge in red tornados rolling
My heart goes surfing on the waves of fire
Leander, who for love the tempest dares,
It lets a sea of flames its life consume:
Icarus, from a sun whose rays are hairs,
Ignites its wings and glories in its doom.
Charring its hopes (whose deaths I mourn) it strives
Out of their ash to fan new phoenix-lives
That, dying of delight, new hopes embolden.
Miser, yet poor, the crime and fate it measures
Of Midas, starved and mocked with stacks of treasures,
Or Tantalus, with streams that shone as golden.


Poetry Tuesday: Love Constant Beyond Death

Francisco Gomez de Quevedo y Villegas, 1580-1645 Spain

Perhaps whatever final shadow that
the shining day may bring could close my eyes,
and this my soul may well be set aflight
by time responding to its longing sighs;

but it will not, there on the farther shore
its memory leave behind, where once it burned:
my flame the icy current yet can swim,
and so severe a law can surely spurn.

Soul by no less than a god confined,
veins that such a blazing fire have fueled,
marrow to its glorious flames consigned:

the body will abandon, not its woes;
will soon be ash, but ash that is aware;
dust will be, but dust whose love still grows.