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from the Span­ish of Rubén Darío

Happy the tree that scarcely feels a thing!
And hap­pier still the nothing-​feeling stone!
No pain exceeds the pain that liv­ing brings;
and grief attends the con­scious life alone.
To be, yet not to know. No path ahead.
The fear of hav­ing been, and future fright …
The dread of know­ing soon we will be dead
but only after suf­fer­ing through the night
what we can’t grasp, nor hardly can we guess;
the flesh that tempts us like a grape or plum,
the tomb that waits for us with wreathes; and yes,
not know­ing where we’re head­ing, even less
know­ing whence we come.

(orig­i­nally pub­lished in String Poet, Vol­ume III, Issue 1, Sum­mer 2013)