El Silencio de Las Cosas or The Silence of Things

Por qué pedir más luz vedada altura,
si es seguro otro duelo bajo el duelo
y fatigar las alas con el vuelo
o desgarrarse en la opulenta hondura?

Al fin de toda sed, nueva tortura
y otra esperanza, forjan el anhelo.
Crece mi angustia y crece el desconsuelo
y nunca bebo en la vertiente pura.

Acaso no hay más dicha que el olvido!
Ceñirnos a los límites humanos.
Con humildad confiada amar las rosas.

Ni llorar, ni esperar por lo vivido.
Beber la miel de los minutos vanos
y besar el silencio de las cosas.


Why demand further that light be forbidden height,
if surely another grief is beneath this grief,
and regardless the flight will fatigue the wings
or tear oneself apart in the opulent depth?

At the end of every thirst, new torture
and another hope, together, forge longing.
My anguish grows and the despair grows
and I never drink from the pure spring.

Perhaps there is no more happiness than forgetting!
Keep to the human limits.
With confident humility, love the roses.

No crying, no waiting for what lived.
Drink the honey from the minutes in vain
and kiss the silence of things.


Translator’s Note:
Matilde Ladrón de Guevara’s book Desnuda, or Naked, which these translations are from, consists of a collection of sonnets. Much of her work uses surrealist imagery to explore conceptions of femininity, motherhood, and female sexuality. Central to the collection is her intense focus on the body and on the landscape, and how the two often become one.

Translators’ Biographies:
Rebecca Pelky is the author of the poetry collection, Horizon of the Dog Woman (Saint Julian Press, 2020). She is a bilingual poet of Mohegan and European descent. Rebecca received her MFA from Northern Michigan University and her PhD from the University of Missouri.

Jake Young is the author of the poetry collection American Oak (Main Street Rag, 2018), and the essay collection True Terroir (Brandenburg Press, 2019). Jake received his MFA from North Carolina State University and his PhD from the University of Missouri, and he also serves as the poetry editor for the Chicago Quarterly Review.


Photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash

Matilde Ladrón de Guevara

Matilde Ladrón de Guevara (1910–2009) was a Chilean intellectual, writer, and feminist. She is the author of nine collections of poetry, six novels, and eight books of nonfiction. Ladrón de Guevara was a candidate for the National Prize for Literature in 2006; and in 2009 she received the Career Award of the Society of Latin American and European Writers.