African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

James Weldon Johnson, "Sonnet (From the Spanish of Placido)" (1917)

Editor's Note: Placido was the penname for Gabriel de la Conception Valdes, an Afro-Cuban poet executed by Spanish authorities in 1844.

(_From the Spanish of Plácido_)

    Enough of love! Let break its every hold!
      Ended my youthful folly! for I know
      That, like the dazzling, glister-shedding snow,
    Celia, thou art beautiful, but cold.
    I do not find in thee that warmth which glows,
      Which, all these dreary days, my heart has sought,
      That warmth without which love is lifeless, naught
    More than a painted fruit, a waxen rose.

    Such love as thine, scarce can it bear love's name,
      Deaf to the pleading notes of his sweet lyre,
    A frank, impulsive heart I wish to claim,
      A heart that blindly follows its desire.
    I wish to embrace a woman full of flame,
      I want to kiss a woman made of fire.

Published in Fifty Years and Other Poems, 1917
(Spanish original is A Una Ingrata. Can be accessed here)

This page has tags: