Luis Cernuda: “The Reason of Tears”

The Reason of Tears

When she is sad, the night has no borders.
Her shadow rises up like the froth of the sea
to break down the weak walls
that are ashamed of their whiteness.
The night can never be anything but night.

Perhaps there are lovers who will stab at the stars.
Perhaps their adventures will snuff out the sorrow.
But you, O night, who are driven by desire
to the very paleness of water,
you will stand forever waiting
for unknown nightingales.

And far away, abysses are trembling,
villages of snakes tucked between feathers,
bedsides of the sick
not staring at anything but the night,
while they close off last gasps
of air between their lips.

Ah the night, the dazzling night
who stands on street corners
cocking her hips,
waiting, who knows,
like me, like everyone else.

Luis Cernuda

Translated from Spanish by Paul Weinfield, © 2015

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