Ramón López Velarde (June 15, 1888 – June 19, 1921) was a Mexican poet.
His work is generally considered to be postmodern, but is unique for its subject matter. He achieved great fame in his native land, to the point of being considered Mexico’s national poet. Despite his importance, he remains a virtual unknown outside his own country.
BECAUSE OF THIS MODEST STYLE
Ramon Lopez Verlarde
It’s how she spreads, without a sound, her scent
of orange blossom on the dark of me,
it is the way she shrouds in mourning black
her mother-of-pearl and ivory, the way
she wears the lace ruff at her throat, and how
she turns her face, quite voiceless, self-possessed,
because she takes the language straight to heart,
is thrifty with the words she speaks.
It’s how she is so reticent yet welcoming
when she comes out to face my panegyrics,
the way she says my name
mocking and mimicking, makes gentle fun,
yet she’s aware that my unspoken drama
is really of the heart, though a little silly;
it’s how, when night is deep and at its darkest,
we linger after dinner, vaguely talking
and her laughing smile grows fainter and then falls
gently on the tablecloth; it’s the teasing way
she won’t give me her arm and then allows
deep feeling to come with us when we walk out,
promenading on the hot colonial boulevard. . .
Because of this, your sighing, modest style
of love, I worship you, my faithful star
who like to cloud yourself about in mourning,
generous, hidden blossom; kindly
mellowness who have presided over
my thirty years with the self-denying singleness
a vase has, whose half-blown roses wreathe with scent
the headboard of a convalescent man;
cautious nurse, shy
serving maid, dear friend who trembles
with the trembling of a child when you revise
the reading that we share; apprehensive, always timid
guest at the feast I give; my ally,
humble dove that coos when it is morning
in a minor key, a key that’s wholly yours.
May you be blessed, modest, magnificent;
you have possessed the highest summit of my heart,
you who are at once the artist
of lowly and most lofty things, who bear in your hands
my life as if it was your work of art!
O star and orange blossom, may you dwindle
gently rocked in an unwedded peace,
and may you fade out like a morning star
which the lightening greenness of a meadow darkens
or like a flower that finds transfiguration
on the blue west, as it might on a simple bed.
JOURNEY TO THE NATIVE SOIL
Ramón López Velarde
The dawn sends its living fire
To the purple cloudscape
And to the dusty carriage
A beam of furtive light.
The native city arises:
Within its boundaries, a hut
Seems to see the wheels
Break the crystal of the river
And among mute poplars
The country house hides itself.
Can you see
from the coach windows
the Shrine, like a snowy reliquary
hidden by the orange groves?
The pigeons leave
the slender belfry
and streak the skies with their flights,
as if the towers welcomed
you, my life, with
By the garden walls the greenness
of the jasmine hangs to the street,
and the whole valley breathes
a melancholic tenderness.
The local gardens
will scent the freshness
of your silken cheeks,
and in the blue mornings
daydreams will arrive in swarms
at your windows.