Oh night, your dark ego is wrought with fraud.
A mad illusion, bully, a latent disease;
those who look to you for hope are awed
by leveled mountains, dry and empty seas.

Alchemist, mechanic of facades,
you tar the numb brain’s vacant cavities.
Blind lynx, you lack illuminating gods,
then skittish of your own echoes, you seize

the shadows, become their evil, harbor fear.
Naïve, beggars and poets fall ill and gray,
their hands are brave but their feet, fugitive.

Beneath you, half my life will disappear:
if I brood in your black veil, I mourn the day,
and if I submit to sleep, I cannot live.

orig. Lope de Vega

Sonnet 161

I am delusional, a foolish child
who threads his caged exotic bird like a kite
and tightly winds the line to slow its flight.
The breeze is calm, but idle wings grow wild,

and nature overtakes its loyalties:
it breaks the string and soars. Still I’m deceived,
and tearfully pursue it. I’ve never grieved
for love or understood its penalties.

My memories of you will drift astray;
a helium balloon bound by a force
as fragile as a single strand of hair.

With the wind, the bird and my glory are swept away,
and my hands are now equipped with the faulty source
of rope. I cinch my throat and pull the snare.

orig. Lope de Vega


The sky surrounds us in its blue, blue, blue,
and summer’s breath is hot enough to burn
the meadow grass to velvet brown. A few
green leaves ride out the river’s current, turn

in an eddy. Smoke from a distant hearth ascends,
then floats and dissipates into the air
like an untouched bridal veil the wind suspends
before it lifts it out of reach. It’s there

you turn to me and say your love rushes
toward me like the river, though it hushes
as it travels the far terrain beyond our view.

Your gaze on me is quiet and serene.
Behind the darkness in your eyes, I’ve seen
your soul — as pure as this endless sky is blue.

orig. Julio Flórez