Rosario Castellanos (1925 – 1974) a Mexican poet and one of her country’s most important literary voices in the 20th century. She identified deeply with the indigenous peoples of Mexico. The translation below has been revised from an earlier post.
We kill what we love. The rest
was never alive.
No one else is that close. No one else is hurt.
by a lapse of memory, an absence, sometimes less.
We kill what we love. Let this suffocation of
breathing through another’s lung end!
The air’s not enough
for us both. And the earth is insufficient
for our two bodies
and the portion of hope is tiny
And the pain cannot be shared.
Man is an animal of solitudes,
a deer with an arrow in its flank
that runs off and bleeds to death.
Oh! but the hatred, its glassy-eyed
insomniac stare; its attitude
which is both calm and a threat.
The deer goes to drink and in the waters
a tiger’s reflection appears.
The deer drinks the water and the image. It becomes
—before they devour him—(complicit, spellbound)
just like its enemy.
We only give life to what we hate.
(translation by John Lyons)