A translation of Rosa Vanessa Otero´s poem «El jardín»
By Christopher Maurer

When a woman keeps a garden,

she consummates the hours,

makes loneliness grow

and flower briefly

into a welcome fugue.

A garden, however small,

is bounty of tenderness,

sifting of affection,

temple of leisure,

an altar of silence

whose only first fruits

are duty.

Each seed that sprouts

is a reward for madness,

if in the sweet shadows

little animals of being

hide from memory.

And in the drops

I place on each leaf

my hand spells out

the strange disease

of a disdainful mystic.

As long as tiny roots

cling to the naked stem

I know there’s someplace

to rebuild happiness.



Death presides from within,

corrupting the root.

Strange, capricious art,

the death of plants.

A spot, a drooping,

color growing faint,

receding slightly,

no hurry, no anguish.

Human death

isn’t that elegant or discreet.

Whoever’s used to watching

plants struggle for life

forgets, if she’s intelligent,

the violence and furor

that brought her into the world

and the hard

noisy drama of her exit.



(To muddy death, 2013)

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