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This poem is taken from PN Review 20, Volume 7 Number 6, July - August 1981.

The Nightingale On The Rock (translated by Bill Affleck) Luis Cernuda

translated by Bill Affleck

IMPERTURBABLE iris fashioned out of stone,
by the monastery orchard you come into view.
Nightingale clearly through the pines
and about to begin a silent song.
Like the pomegranate fruit, rough on the outside,
more satisfying and juicy deep inside,
so, Escorial, I see you in my memory.
As you point sternly towards the wide heavens,
across the quiet water of the lily pond
turned into gracefulness you smile. And clouds
crown your immortal ambitions.

I remember well the south where the olive tree grows
beside the shining sea and the white farmhouse,
but now in memory I travel higher, to the mountains
grey under a blue sky, covered with pine trees,
...


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