What is the poet's attitude toward her lover? What arguments is she using to persuade him to make love with her?
Take me now, while it is early
and I bear dahlia buds (1) in my hand
Take me now while still
my hair is dark.
Now, while I have fragrant flesh
and limpid eyes and rosy skin.
Now, while my nimble foot
wears the living sandal of spring.
Now, while on my lip is laughter
like a quickly shaken bell.
Afterwards...Oh! I know
that I will have none of these later.
And your desire then will be useless
like an offering placed on a tomb.
Take me now while it's still early
and my hands full of tuberoses (2).
Today, no later. Before night falls
and the flower's fresh center wilts.
Today, not tomorrow. Oh, beloved, can't you see
that the vine will become a cypress tree? (3)
Translated by Mary Gallwey
(1) A symbol of youth.
(2) A lily-like flower of Mexico.
(3) A symbol of death.
This is an excerpt from Reading
About the World, Volume 2, edited by Paul Brians, Mary Gallwey, Douglas Hughes, Azfar Hussain, Richard Law, Michael Myers, Michael Neville, Roger Schlesinger, Alice Spitzer, and Susan Swan and published by Harcourt Brace Custom Books.
The reader was created for use in the World Civilization course at Washington State University, but material on this page may be used for educational purposes by permission of the editor-in-chief:
Department of English
Washington State University
This is just a sample of Reading About the World, Volume 2.
http://www.chambal.com/csin/9780155674257/ (vol. 1)
http://www.chambal.com/csin/9780155128262/ (vol. 2)
This page has been accessed times since December 23, 1998.