Entre el dolor y el placer

Entre el dolor y el placer median tres criaturas,
de las cuales la una mira a un muro,
la segunda usa de ánimo triste
y la tercera avanza de puntillas;
pero, entre tú y yo,
sólo existen segundas criaturas.

Apoyándose en mi frente,
el día conviene en que, de veras,
hay mucho de exacto en el espacio;
pero, si la dicha, que, al fin, tiene un tamaño,
principia ¡ay! por mi boca,
¿quién me preguntará por mi palabra?

Al sentido instantáneo de la eternidad
este encuentro investido de hilo negro,
pero a tu despedida temporal,
tan sólo corresponde lo inmutable,
tu criatura, el alma, mi palabra.



It is Ash Wednesday and a new moon. On February 25th, 2006 we had not yet reached this point in the year’s round; my post for that day is archived here.


4 thoughts on “Entre el dolor y el placer

  1. The poem is beautiful, although I do not understand much of it. I’m working hard on my Spanish and moving along.

  2. I don’t understand it either but the Eshleman translation reads in English:

    Between pain and pleasure there are three creatures,
    among which one looks at a wall,
    the second puts on a sad disposition
    and the third advances on tiptoes;
    but, between you and me,
    only second creatures exist.

    Leaning on my forehead, the day
    agrees that, in truth,
    much is exact in space;
    but, if the happiness, that, after all, has dimension,
    begins, ay! in my mouth,
    who is going to ask me for my word?

    To the instantaneous meaning of eternity
    this encounter vested with black thread,
    but to your temporal farewell
    corresponds solely what is immutable,
    your creature, the soul, my word.

  3. Ah, Lent. It is not really something that is visible here. But – this cracked me up – one of my facebook friends posted in her status that she wanted a margarita and a massage, and a FrSomebody commented that it was Lent and she should give it up to God! Facebook has its disadvantages. YOUR PRIEST IS WATCHING YOU!

  4. I’m glad someone realized this was for Lent! I wish I understood it better, though. The prose version is even odder. I need to look up some criticism; in retrospect it will all look easy I am sure.

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