The poems of Gabriela Mistral, selected by herself, are presented here in their first translation into English. The style of this South American winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature has been considered difficult to carry over in its fullness from the Spanish she uses as a Chilean. "I could not reproduce exactly the meter and rhyme of Gabriela Mistral's poetry and remain faithful to the vigor and vitality of her poems," says her translator, Frances P. Mousseau. "I have chosen instead to translate in free verse and retain the meaning and vigorous expression in the poems as near to the original as possible."
DO NOT PRESS my hands.
The everlasting time of rest will come
with dust and darkness
in my intertwined fingers.
And you would say: "I cannot
love her because her fingers shatter
like ripe wheat.
Do not kiss my mouth.
The full instant will come
in waning light, when I, fleshless,
without lips shall lie in damp earth.
And you would say:--"I loved her
but I cannot love her longer,
for now she breathes not
the fragrance of my kiss."