For an Aesthete

You who admire the particular scent of fine words
will be confused by these, which have no scent.
You who thirst for clear water, I offer this
other water: murky and coppery red.

You on the flight-path of beauty, consider
death’s low trajectory, or, rather, how both
life and death—water and fire—slink out
together from under the rocks.

Chrysanthemum, cut down and prepared
for a faraway death,
I’m ready to talk and talk and talk
for as long as it takes to be heard.

You who drink wine from your silver cup,
do you know the road to the spring bubbling up
from underneath the stone? Nobody
drinks from there using two hands.

You forget because you think you know.
The master! Not the kid brother to whatever you name.
Rootless (‘My Oeuvre,’ you say) you forget
that to live and to die is your work.

You did not come here to impose an order
on the marvelous chaos of things.
You came to name them, then quickly
get out of the way. Their glory is too great a thing.

To be without possession: a way to abundance,
to the stream. Water flows out of the bed
you acknowledge as temporary. Estuaries, spilling out
into the sea; ‘which is death,’ as the coplas say.

Not to impose an order, but to feed the millwheel
transitory water. Your end isn’t contained
within yourself (‘My Oeuvre,’ you say). You forget
that to live and to die is your work—

and that the song that you sing will one day be silenced
by the music of other waves.


José Hierro was born in Madrid in 1922.

Published On
: February 14, 2012
Permanent Location:







Volume 6, Issue 3
Valentine's Day, 2012

Forget Turns Eleven

José Hierro
(Trans. Nick Thran)

For an Aesthete

José Hierro
(Trans. Nick Thran)

Why I'M Not a Poet

by Amy Bergen

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by Forget Magazine

The Latin for Hunger
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Lily and the Ways of Women
by Kim Bannerman

Feb 12, 2001 - Present

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