I Live, I Die, I Burn, I Drown – Delmira Agustini

I Live, I Die, I Burn, I Drown

I live, I die, I burn, I drown
I endure at once chill and cold
Life is at once too soft and too hard
I have sore troubles mingled with joys

Suddenly I laugh and at the same time cry
And in pleasure many a grief endure
My happiness wanes and yet it lasts unchanged
All at once I dry up and grow green

Thus I suffer love’s inconstancies
And when I think the pain is most intense
Without thinking, it is gone again.

Then when I feel my joys certain
And my hour of greatest delight arrived
I find my pain beginning all over once again.
– Delmira Agustini(1886-1914)

[Born in 1886 in Montevideo, Uruguay, Delmira Agustini is one of the most celebrated Latin American poets of the last century, known for her precocious talent and tragically short life. Her work was strictly modernist but she helped to redefine the tradition with her intensely erotic verse that looked at the world from a woman’s viewpoint.

Agustini began to write poetry at the age of ten years old and, when she was just 16, went into the office of a prominent local editor in Montevideo and presented her first collection of poetry. She was met with astonishment and laughter by the editor but a short while later the work was published and garnered her national fame. She would write three more collections over the next few years.