Tuesday, September 20, 2011

this is your fate: to live

I promise that in the next week, I will post something other than poetry. But because it's Tuesday, and because this is lovely, have an untitled poem by Pedro Salinas.

Wake up. Day calls you
to your life: your duty.
And to live, nothing else.
Root it out of the glum
night and the shadow
that covered your body
for which light waits
on tiptoe in the dawn.
Stand up, affirm the straight
simple will to be
a pure vertical virgin.
Test your body's metal.
Cold, heat? Your blood
will say it against the snow,
behind the window.
The color
in your cheeks will say it.
And look at the world. Rest
doing no more than adding
your perfection to another day.
Your task
is to carry your life high,
play with it, hurl it
like a voice to the clouds
so that it may retrieve the lights
already gone from us.
This is your fate: to live.
Do nothing.
Your work is you, nothing else.

(translated by Willis Barnstone)


  1. Unsuccsefully looked for it in its original version (I speak spanish). Anyway, a beautiful poem.


  2. Try looking up the book "My Voice Because of You." It's in English on Google Books; that's where I got the poem. I'm guessing you could find a Spanish version somewhere.

    Also, wikipedia has links to Spanish websites on Salinas. You may be able to find it there.

    And yes, a beautiful poem.

  3. Yes, it is.

    In a similar vein, and for another translated poem, I also like On Living by Nazim Hikmet.