María Enriqueta Camarillo (1872-1968)

Maria EnriquetaMaría Enriqueta Camarillo was a Mexican poet, short story writer, novelist and Translator who became one of the most important figures of Spanish-American modernism. In the years after the Mexican Revolution, her children’s books became extremely important as school text books in the context of the educational reforms of José Vasconcelos, and her importance in Mexican culture is reflected in the various libraries and schools that bear her name. She was also recognized outside Mexico, as in 1923 her novel El secreto (“The Secret”) won the Academie Francaise literary prize for best Hispanic female novel.

Invitation in Vain

“In the placid wood a spring can be found,
which, as it quenches your thirst, reflects your brow.”

Said he, and I answered: “I have no desires
to see any spring other than your gentle eyes;

they are a mirror that makes me whole,
where I take up light and lay down my soul…”

“Then you shall hear the beating heart
of the living wood in the twisted bark;

or the murmur of the wandering breeze
which like a languid butterfly rises and flees…”

“To hear your voice is enough for me,
it whispers like wind and roars like sea.”

“There are flowers there, sun-gold are they,
and others as white as the break of day.”

“In your rosy cheeks are the dusk hour’s skies
and the white dawn rises in your eyes.”

“The nights there are tranquil and so deep…”
“In your pupils I find my most peaceful sleep.”

“You can shelter in the underbrush of every glade…”
“’Neath your unkempt hair I’ll find my shade…”

“There you will feel things as never before.”
“At your side, I have felt love; I need no more.”

“Come! The mysterious stillness here
will whisper its secret into your ear…”

“’Tis in vain your call, for all its zeal,
when your love for me you’ve already revealed!”

“There, a vast, majestic tree does rise,
its rustling branches reach to the skies;

and coiled around it, serpentine,
is a huge, enamoured clinging vine…”

“You are that tree, so majestic and strong:
let me cling to your branches all my life long!”

Translated by Martin Boyd

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