poem index

Musical Instrument

Luis Cernuda
If the Arab musician
Plucks the lute strings
With an eagle quill
To awaken the notes,

What hand plucks 
With what bird's quill
The wound in you
That awakens the word?

From Desolation of the Chimera by Luis Cernuda, translated by Stephen Kessler. Copyright © 2010 by Luis Cernuda and Stephen Kessler. Used by permission of White Pine Press. All rights reserved.

Luis Cernuda

by this poet

poem
The whole day's heat, distilled 
Into a suffocating vapor, the sand releases. 
Against the deep blue background of the night 
Like an impossible drizzle of water, 
The frozen splendor of the stars 
Is proudly aligned alongside the full moon 
Which, from a great height, disdainfully illumines 
The remains of
poem
The French—or was it the English?—government placed a plaque
On that house at 8 Great College Street, Camden Town, London, 
Where in a room Rimbaud and Verlaine, a peculiar couple, 
Lived, drank, worked, and fornicated 
For a few brief stormy weeks. 
No doubt the ambassador and the mayor attended the dedication
poem
From our old friendship 
I never thought I'd ever remember again
How a whole tribe, such a strange group 
To me and maybe no less strange to you, 
Adopted you. 

                                  But one of that tribe, 
A professor and, according to him and others
Over there (which shows how far our land has