The Tear- Ramón López Velarde


the angular lily

that adorns the cadaverous pillow;


the hardened bachelor pain

of lying like a beardless congregationist

while the cats erect their clamour

and forge a bristling race;


the hunger never sated

of the lime that wears

light minds away

and the professional disenchantment

with which courtesans

spring out of bed;


marriage-making ingenuity

and the calamity that hopes for nothing;


the grave and the nest,

the bitter tear that I have drunk.

Tear of the infinite,

perpetuator of the amorous rite;

tear in whose seas

my anchor in its wrecked immersion joys

and I harvest the singular fleeces of

a rueful flock;

tear in whose glory the unfailing rainbow

of my punctual passion is refracted;

tear in which pennonless the masts

of consternation navigate;

tear with which my gratitude

sought to savour paradise;

tear of my shedding, I would be in thee

enclosed, and over me a tomb of joy,

like a look-out

in his briny morbid beacon-light.

  • Ramón López Velarde ( 1888-1921 )

From Mexican Poetry An Anthology
Compiled by Octavio Paz
Translated by Samuel Beckett