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Poem CI


The island creature seems, I don't know why, a different kind of creature.
Lighter, finer, more sensitive.

If she's a flower, roots don't hold her down; if she's a bird, her body
leaves a hole in the wind; if she's a child, sometimes she plays with a
petrel, sometimes a cloud.

The island creature floats forever on a sea that surrounds but cannot
capture her. She goes to the sea, comes from the sea, and tiny seas are
soothed in her breast, sleep in its warmth like doves.

The island's rivers are nimbler than others. The island's stones seem
about to fly away...

She is all wind and clear water. A memory of salt, of lost horizons, pierces
her with every wave, and the spray of shipwrecks clasps itself around her
waist, makes the tips of her wings tremble.

The ancients called all that was not island Terra Firma, while the island is
the least firm, the least earthy part of Earth.




(Spanish: Poema CI ) from the book Poemas sin nombre (1953). Permission to provide this deep link, courtesy of the Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes of the Universidad de Alicante in Alicante, Spain.

Translation by Judith Kerman. First published in Dulce María Loynaz: A Woman in Her Garden (Selected Poems), White Pine Press, 2002.

Water Play