To Sor Juana



A tribute to Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, a very early American poet. And a special thanks to Octavio Paz whose translation I cherry-picked for a stanza of this poem. It is Italicized below.

When I see the greening

convent ivy climbing

enclosing hearts given to God,

I remember Sor Juana.


When I hear the laughing

daughters kept for playing

amusing all the distant Lords,

I remember Sor Juana.


Whose words rang like valley bells:

           In those softening echoes are heard,
                                                               the bird,
                like flowing waters that sing
                                                         the spring,
                and whose phrases' shower,
                                                         the flower,
                like a green-throated salute,
                                                         the shoot.


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