Apolo, by Juana Borrero

Poem by Juana Borrero, 1878-1896, Cuba. English translation by Liz Henry.


Marmóreo, altivo, refulgente y bello,
corona de su rostro la dulzura,
cayendo en torno de su frente pura
en ondulados rizos el cabello.

Al enlazar mis brazos a su cuello
y al estrechar su espléndida hermosura,
anhelante de dicha y de ventura
la blanca frente con mis labios sello.

Contra su pecho inmóvil, apretada,
adoré su belleza indiferente,
y al quererla animar desesperada,

llevada por mi amante desvarío,
dejé mil besos de ternura ardiente
allí apagados sobre el mármol frío.


In marble, most proud, indifferent, beautiful,
your face wreathed in sweetness,
hair in waving ringlets
tumbled round your noble brow:

Twining my arms around your neck
and embracing your splendid loveliness
filled with bold and joyous longing,
I seal your white brow with my lips.

Pressed to your unmoving breast,
I adored your indifferent beauty;
and hoping against hope that you’d come to life,

carried away by my delirious love,
I left a thousand kisses, tender, burning,
there extinguished on your icy stone!

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