Peso ancestral

Poem by Alfonsina Storni, 1892-1938, Argentina. English translation by Liz Henry.

Peso ancestral

Tú me dijiste: no lloró mi padre;
Tú me dijiste: no lloró mi abuelo;
No han llorado los hombres de miraza,
Eran de acero.

Así diciendo te brotó una lágrima
Y me cayó en la boca . . . más veneno
Yo no he bebido nunca en otro vaso
Así pequeño.

Débil mujer, pobre mujer que entiende,
Dolor de siglos conocí al beberlo:
¡Oh, el alma mía soportar no puede
Todo su peso!

Ancestral burden

You told me: My father never cried;
You told me: My grandfather never cried;
The men of my family never cried;
they were steel.

While you spoke, a tear welled up
and fell to my mouth . . . the most venom
I’ve ever drunk from a cup
so small.

Frail woman, poor woman, who understands
the pain of centuries I tasted in that drink:
Oh, this soul of mine can’t bear
all your burden!

5 Responses to Peso ancestral

  1. esmeralda says:

    what is the purpose of this poem? what does it mean?

  2. Jackie says:

    Doesn’t this poem have to do with the like culture of men well our like culture and how society wants them to be like macho men & all that.
    They have to be strong and they have to not cry cause its like against the culture since the past this has been going on since like ancient times and there is still that mentality today that men don’t cry and they have to be the man in the house and control everything. It also talks about how women cry for like any little reason they take all the sadness from the men and bring them upon themselves which is kind of pathetic men have their own feelings some show it and others don’t but to our society it’s really shocking when a man cries. I don’t know if am right but this is just what I think.

  3. harshall says:

    yes sweety your right:)

  4. ForeverGerar says:

    *You’re and also she is saying that them NOT crying only weighs their soul down and passes their burden that they could not vent out in crying.

  5. graciela says:

    It’s not that the men are carrying a burden because they can’t cry… but rather they are passing on this burden to the women, who are then forced to carry all the sadness for the whole family. So when the daughter tastes her mother’s tears she wants out of the system… because she doesn’t want to have to carry the burdens of the next generation of men on top of all her ancestors.

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