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    black and white photograph of an anenome

    Poem: “This That You See”

    By Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and Rhina P. Espaillat

    January 14, 2023

    Sonnet: This That You See

    A refutation of flatteries perceived as blind error;
    inscribed by the truth on a portrait of the poet.

    This that you see, this brightly-hued pretense,
    here by the grace of art rendered appealing,
    through specious feats of colorful deceiving
    is cleverly deployed to cheat the sense;
    this, in which flattery’s munificence
    has sought to mask the blows the years are dealing
    so as to conquer time, thereby concealing
    the horrors wrought by age and negligence,
    is effort undertaken for no gain,
    is a frail flower in the windy squall,
    is a defense from fate mounted in vain,
    is labor mad and wasted, doomed to fall,
    is a fool’s errand, and, regarded plain,
    is corpse, is dust, is dark, is not at all.

    Translation,Rhina P. Espaillat

    black and white photograph of an anenome

    Photograph by chrsjc

    Este que ves, engaño colorido  …

    Este que ves, engaño colorido,
    que, del arte ostentando los primores,
    con falsos silogismos de colores
    es cauteloso engaño del sentido;

    éste, en quien la lisonja ha pretendido
    excusar de los años los horrores,
    y venciendo del tiempo los rigores
    triunfar de la vejez y del olvido,

    es un vano artificio del cuidado,
    es una flor al viento delicada,
    es un resguardo inútil para el hado:

    es una necia diligencia errada,
    es un afán caduco y, bien mirado,
    es cadáver, es polvo, es sombra, es nada.

    Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1648–1695)

    Contributed By Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

    Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1648–1695) was a Hieronymite nun and renowned writer, philosopher, composer and poet of the Mexican Baroque.

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    Contributed By RhinaEspaillat Rhina P. Espaillat

    Rhina P. Espaillat, a bilingual poet, is winner of numerous prizes including the T. S. Eliot Prize, the Richard Wilbur Award, and (twice) the Howard Nemerov Sonnet award.

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