The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


José Ángel Buesa

Translated by Rhina P. Espaillat

Rain Song


Maybe fine rain is stippling your window now,

falling gently, like this, it well may be…

and when the daylight fades I know, somehow,

even against your will you will think of me.


Your quiet heart will sense, with a sudden pang,

how love awakens again, though it did not last;

your stitching will slow to a halt, and the thread tangle,

and your eyes will be full of rain, though the rain has passed.




Canción de la lluvia


Acaso esté lloviendo también en tu ventana;

acaso esté lloviendo calladamente así...

y, mientras anochece de pronto la mañana,

yo sé que, aunque no quieras, vas a pensar en mí.


Y tendrá un sobresalto tu corazón tranquilo,

sintiendo que despierta la ternura de ayer;

y, si estabas cosiendo, se hará un nudo el hilo

y aún lloverá en tus ojos, al dejar de llover.


Cristóbal de Castellejo

Translated by Rhina P. Espaillat

To Love


Give me, Love, kisses uncounted,

while you’re tangled in my hair;

place eleven hundred there;

and then, when the score has mounted

by eleven hundred more,

add to that score

many thousands, three, and then,

just so none may be offended,

after all the adding’s ended,

let’s count backwards, and again.



Al Amor


Dame, Amor, besos sin cuento,

asido de mis cabellos,

y mil y ciento tras ellos,

y tras ellos mil y ciento,

y después

de muchos millares, tres;

y porque nadie los sienta,

desbaratemos la cuenta

y contemos al revés.




Luis de Góngora

Translated by Rhina P. Espaillat

Now While the Sun, to Rival Your Bright Hair


Now while the sun, to rival your bright hair,

gleams like its burnished gold but gleams in vain;

now while your snowy brow amid the plain

confronts the lily and is judged more fair;


now while more eyes pursue your lips than there

are eyes seeking fresh pinks in morning rain;

now while your throat concedes, with blithe disdain,

that lucent crystal is less fine and fair;


find pleasure in your throat, hair, lips and brow

before those charms, which gilded youth may call

gold, lily, pinks and shining crystal now,


decline to silver, or like violets, fall

before the blade, when you, like them, must bow,

become earth, smoke, dust, shade, nothing at all.




Mientras por competir con tu cabello


Mientras por competir con tu cabello,

oro bruñido, el Sol relumbra en vano,

mientras con menosprecio en medio el llano

mira tu blanca frente el lilio bello;


mientras a cada labio, por cogello,

siguen más ojos que al clavel temprano,

y mientras triunfa con desdén lozano

del luciente crital tu gentil cuello;


goza cuello, cabello, labio y frente,

antes que lo que fue en tu edad dorada

oro, lilio, clavel, cristal luciente,


no sólo en plata o vïola troncada

se vuelva, mas tú y ello juntamente

en tierra, en humo, en polvo, en sombra, en nada.



Gil Vicente

Translated by Rhina P. Espaillat

They All Say, "Get Married, Go."


They all say, “Get married, go.”

I don’t want a husband, though.


I prefer my liberty

on this hilltop where I’m free,

never thinking will I be

married to my taste or no.

They all say, “Get married, go.”

I don’t want a husband, though.


Mother, I won’t be a wife

dragging out a dreary life,

wasting on hard work and strife

my God-given charm and glow.

They all say, “Get married, go.”

I don’t want a husband, though.


There is not—there could not be—

any man just right for me,

since I know most certainly

I’m the girl who steals the show.

They all say, “Get married, go.”

I don’t want a husband, though.


Dicen que me case yo


Dicen que me case yo:

no quiero marido, no.


Más quiero vivir segura

n’esta sierra a mi soltura

que no estar en ventura

si casaré bien o no.

Dicen que me case yo:

no quiero marido, no.


Madre, no seré casada

por no ver vida cansada,

y quizá mal empleada

La gracia que Dios me dio.

Dicen que me case yo:

no quiero marido, no.


No será ni es nacido

tal para ser mi marido;

y pues que tengo sabido

que la flor yo me la só,

dicen que me case yo:

no quiero marido, no.






JOSÉ ANGEL BUESA: (Cuba, 1910-1982) One of the most popular, beloved, memorized and imitated poets of his country, his profoundly human, lyrical poems are widely read to this day.


CRISTOBAL de  CASTILLEJO: (Spain, 1492?- 1550) Court poet bitterly opposed to the foreign literary novelties introduced in Spain by Garcilaso and Boscán. His work, often witty, satirical and light-hearted, comprised a broad range of themes and tones, and included some long poems that earned him the disapproval of the Inquisition.


LUIS de GONGORA: (Spain, 1561-1625) Author of ornate, complex, wide-ranging, controversial work that earned him admiration, the flattery of imitation, ridicule and outright hostility from many of his contemporaries. Now considered one of the best poets of his time.


GIL VINCENTE: (Portugal, 1465-1537) Although best known as a Portuguese dramatist, many of Vicente’s plays and some of his lyrics were composed in Castilian.


RHINA P. ESPAILLAT has published ten full-length books and three chapbooks, comprising poetry, essays and short stories, in both English and her native Spanish, and prize-winning translations from and into Spanish. Her work appears in numerous journals, websites and anthologies, and has earned national and international awards. Her most recent publications are two poetry collections in English titled Playing at Stillness and Her Place in These Designs, as well as a book of Spanish translations titled Oscura fruta/Dark Berries: Forty-two Poems by Richard Wilbur, and a book of Spanish translations titled Algo hay que no es amigo de los muros/Something There Is that Doesn’t Love a Wall: Forty Poems by Robert Frost, both available from



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