Poetry Tuesday: a Poem of my Own, in Spanish and English

I’m not all that fond of writing free-form poetry, even when I write in Spanish. I usually choose to write Spanish poetry in Petrarchan sonnets, liras, silvas, and romances. Spanish forms are generally syllabic and employ both true rhyme and assonance rhyme. I love forms, rhyming, and counting syllables (or metric feet, if I’m writing in English). The discipline gives me pleasure.

This week, I’m going to post a free-form poem that I wrote many years ago, but only because it has a readily available English translation. I’m always one to jump up and loudly declare the faults in my poetry. So here’s my critique: both versions have far too many adjectives. But that’s only true if you are of the modern anti-adjective crowd. Or it could simply be true for this poem.

El Río Frío

El río sigue la noche
por poca razón,
lavando las piedras
con risas burlonas.

Él sigue la noche,
su lengua, gris y lisa
prueba la ribera,
sorbos dulces y fríos.

Sin fondo se sigue
hasta, al oír
de sonidos estirados,
murmullos llenos —

Quiere parar, pero, en vez,
sigue soñando que
la ribera le espere
en su cuerpo.

Sus pliegues apretados
y suspiros largos,
alcanzan las luces allá
donde mezclan colores.

El río refleja la noche
burlándo la;
aun los colores en el aire
no están tocando.

The Cold River

The river follows the night
through little reason,
washing stones
with broken laughter.

It follows the night,
a smooth, grey tongue
tasting the bank,
in sweet, cold tones.

In shallow depths it follows,
until the sounds
from stretched notes,
moans of an accordion

catch the waves and keep them
flowing, dreaming that
the bank awaits music
with her body.

Her pressed folds
and long sighs
reach out to the lights
where colors meet.

The river follows the night
with mocking:
the sounds, the lights
aren’t really touching.



  1. I totally agree….there were not too many adjectives, you'll have to do better 😉 The proof of the pudding is in the eating, a cliche? Maybe, but your wonderful poem filled me aplenty, thank you.

    Oh, and thank you for popping over to my 'fruit of life' blog and leaving a comment 🙂

  2. Doug, thank you for stopping by. Pudding sounds good, probably better than poetry occasionally, except that the eating of it would completely incapacitate me.

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