How Like a Winter…

(Sonnet xcvii)

So Shakespeare describes absence. Yes—but no,
since every winter ends, gentling to spring’s
tentative yellows, then the green and blue
and bolder tones of flowering summer. So
has this winter passed, as do all things—
except the final absence. Without you,
for instance, all of time is cut in two—
before and after—seasons all the same,
despite the beckoning lushness of the new,
the living, rich in fur and fins and wings,
intent on resurrection. But they go,
our absent loves, and leave us stranded here,
parted from all the changes of the year
as by an endless fall of pallid snow.

José de Diego: Into the Breach

O wretched man in pain who falls and cries,
whose limbs, exhausted, sicken and grow slack!
Leaf out anew—the bare tree’s verdant knack;
like buried seed, pulse to revitalize.

Resurge, shout, stride, take heart, fight for the prize,
rumble and flash; like thunder, boom and crack….
Be like the sea against the cliff: strike back!
And like the river when it rains: arise!

Before the raging tempest’s angry thrust,
do not bleat like the lamb, unhappy, frail,
but roar, as the wild beast does, when you must.

Francisco de Quevedo: Love That Endures Beyond Death

When the last shadow comes to douse the white
radiance of day, it well may close my eyes;
it may unbind my soul, so that it flies
free, toward its eager wish, full of delight;

but soul will not abandon in its flight
memory, where it burned: my flame is wise,
knows how to swim the icy stream, and rise
to disobey the law more stern than right.

My soul, for whom the cell god’s will has been;
veins that have, for so long, nurtured such fire;
my very core, gloriously lit within,