On Poetry and Culture Shock

Soneto para amadas meteorológicas

Hay una sola palabra: “primavera”,
Pero no hay una sola primavera.
Yo conozco dos.
Necesitamos dos palabras para las dos primaveras.
Una primavera fría,
Primavera que muestra pero no da.
Beatrice, Dark Lady, Laura, Stella, Elisa,
De blanco cuello blanco que no puedes besar.
Primavera de escalofrío y lluvia,
Una flor al día.
Cada tierno brote una semana de anhelo,
Cielos azules que prometen brisa suave
Pero engañan.
Cuatro meses de súplica y diez días de calor,
Conozco primaveras (¿o eran mujeres?) así.
Y otra primavera ardiente,
Colores que estallan,
Toda entregada entera,
Flores y fruta y luz,
De golpe.
Y de repente te trae el verano,
Ahogo, sofoco, bochorno, treinta y siete grados,
Te dio placer y te hará sudar.
Conozco primaveras (¿o eran mujeres?) así.

There is one word: “spring”,
But there isn’t just one spring,
I know two of them.
We need two words for two different springs.
A cold spring,
Spring that shows but does not give.
Beatrice, Dark Lady, Laura, Stella, Eliza, Daphne,
With a white neck white she won’t let you kiss.
Spring of chills and rain,
A flower a day.
Every tender new leaf after a week of desire,
Blue skies that promise a soft breeze:
They lie.
Four months begging on your knees and ten days of warmth,
I have known springs (or were they women?) like this.
And a hot fiery spring,
Colours that burst,
All for you, completely,
Flowers and fruit and light,
At once.
And suddenly she brings summer,
Stifling scorching sweltering thirty seven degrees*,
She gave you pleasure, she’ll make you sweat.
I have known springs (or were they women?) like this.

This poem is a lot longer than I had planned at first! Sometimes I think I’m writing free verse because I’m losing the discipline to stick to haiku constraints. Maybe in a few days or weeks I’ll be able to take all these ideas into fifteen syllables (and I will probably prefer that version to this one).

I wrote this one after a whole day of walking on slush, looking at the tiny grey shoots that will become leaves on the trees on campus. If this weather was a woman it would be The Teaser From Hell, some sort of Renaissance protagonist of a sonnet.

* 37º C = 100º F.

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