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Selected Poems of 
GABRIELA MISTRAL 
Translated by 
URSULA K. LE GUIN
i 
Selected Poems of 
GABRIELA MISTRAL 
Translated by 
URSULA K. LE GUIN
ii 
Selected Poems of 
GABRIELA MISTRAL 
Translated by 
URSULA K. LE GUIN 
Vakils, Feffer & Simons Pvt. Ltd. 
Industry Man...
Copyright © 
“The Franciscan Order in Chile authorizes the use of 
Gabriela Mistral’s work. The equivalent to the royalty ...
Foreword 
I am honoured to present you, especially our little children, with a select collection 
of wonderful poems by Ga...
viii 
Rocking................................................ 3 
Dew ........................................................
Rocking 
Holy ocean rocks its millions 
of waves in the sun. 
Listening to the loving seas 
I rock my little one. 
Wanderi...
Dew 
This was a rose 
dew-laden. 
This was my breast 
with my baby. 
She closes her petals 
to hold it safe, 
turns from t...
Give me your Hand 
Give me your hand and give me your love, 
give me your hand and dance with me. 
A single flower, and no...
Fear 
I don’t want my daughter 
to get turned into swallow. 
She’d dive straight up to heaven 
and never come down to our ...
Little Bud 
I had a little flower bud 
here, next to my heart. 
It was as white and tiny 
as a grain of rice. 
From the li...
Discovery 
I came on this little boy 
when I was in the fields; 
I found him sleeping 
in the standing wheat. 
Or maybe I ...
The Girl with the Crippled Hand 
Maybe a clam snapped up my little finger 
and maybe the clam fell in the sand 
and the se...
Larks 
They were in the scattered wheat. 
As we came near, the whole flock 
flew, and the poplars stood 
as if struck by a...
Fire 
Since night’s already on us, 
with its line that dims and blurs, 
let’s go home by the road 
of the Angel and the he...
The Ones Not Dancing 
The crippled girl says: 
how can I be a dancer? 
Do your dancing in your heart, 
we answer. 
The str...
Little Star 
Little star, fallen 
on my heart to shine: 
ah, such a miracle 
can’t be mine. 
I fell asleep one night 
and ...
Little Feet 
Children’s little feet, 
blue with cold, how can you be 
seen and not protected, 
dear Lord! 
Little feet bru...
The Bit of Straw 
This one that was a waxen doll, 
but she wasn’t a waxen doll at all, 
but a bit of chaff where they thre...
Animals 
Small beasts prowl and bleat, 
sniffing at your hands and feet. 
Another realm, another earth 
gave the animals t...
The Parrot 
The green and yellow parrot, 
the green and saffron parrot 
says “Ugly” to me in its nasal voice 
out of its S...
The Peacock 
What if the wind blew and bore away the clouds, 
and there was a peacock flying in the clouds, 
what if the p...
Pine Woods 
As we’re going through the woods 
trees pass before you now, 
and I stop and show you to them, 
but they’re to...
The Rat 
A rat ran after a deer, 
deer ran after a jaguar, 
jaguars chased buffalo, 
and the buffalo chased the sea. 
Catc...
Weaving the Round 
Where shall we go to weave the round? 
Shall we go down to the ocean beach? 
The sea’ll dance in a thou...
40 
Illustrations by students of 
Jindal Vidya Mandir Schools 
A.Niranjan (Std 7 B) 
Adabala Srilatha (Std 9 C) 
Akshata.S...
JSW Foundation collaboration with 
Embassy of Chile 
Vakils Feffer & Simons 
Pvt. Ltd. 
Embassy of Chile 
Logo 
BARCODE
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Gabriela mistral selected poems

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Gabriela mistral selected poems

  1. 1. Selected Poems of GABRIELA MISTRAL Translated by URSULA K. LE GUIN
  2. 2. i Selected Poems of GABRIELA MISTRAL Translated by URSULA K. LE GUIN
  3. 3. ii Selected Poems of GABRIELA MISTRAL Translated by URSULA K. LE GUIN Vakils, Feffer & Simons Pvt. Ltd. Industry Manor, Appasaheb Marathe Marg, Prabhadevi, Mumbai 400 025, India.
  4. 4. Copyright © “The Franciscan Order in Chile authorizes the use of Gabriela Mistral’s work. The equivalent to the royalty fee is hand over to the Franciscan Order in Chile, on behalf of the children of Montegrande and Chile, according to Gabriela Mistral’s testamentary will.” Published by Arun K. Mehta for Vakils Feffer & Simons Pvt. Ltd. Industry Manor, Appasaheb Marathe Marg, Prabhadevi, Mumbai 400 025, India. Printed by Bimal A. Mehta at Vakil & Sons Pvt. Ltd. Industry Manor, Appasaheb Marathe Marg, Prabhadevi, Mumbai 400 025, India. Phone : 91-22-2430 6780 / 2430 0609 Fax : 91-22-2422 5111 Website : www.vakilspublications.com E-mail : info@vakilspublications.com : facebook.com/vakilsbooks Dedicated to the children of Jindal Vidya Mandir Schools iv v
  5. 5. Foreword I am honoured to present you, especially our little children, with a select collection of wonderful poems by Gabriela Mistral. She was an extremely popular teacher in the Republic of Chile in South America and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1945. It has been a valuable experience collaborating with the Ambassador of Chile, H.E. Mr. Cristian Barros Melet and the Embassy of Chile to bring about this unique production. I would like to compliment the Gabriela Mistral Foundation for upholding the legacy of this great individual. I am very proud that students of our Jindal Vidya Mandir Schools in Vasind, Maharashtra and Vijayanagar, Karnataka have illustrated the selected poems. Their wonderful interpretation of these poems in visual form has been a fascinating journey, one I am sure our students will cherish. Vakils have given this collection of poems the perfect creative treatment that further complements their emotive content. I hope you will enjoy this beautiful and wonderful book. With my best wishes, Sangita Jindal vi vii
  6. 6. viii Rocking................................................ 3 Dew ...................................................... 4 Give me your Hand................................ 7 Fear....................................................... 9 Little Bud............................................ 10 Discovery.............................................13 The Girl with the Crippled Hand...........14 Larks....................................................17 Fire..................................................... 18 The Ones Not Dancing.........................21 Little Star.............................................22 Little Feet.............................................24 The Bit of Straw..................................27 Animals...............................................29 The Parrot............................................31 The Peacock........................................32 Pine Woods..........................................35 The Rat............................................... 36 Weaving the Round............................ 38 1
  7. 7. Rocking Holy ocean rocks its millions of waves in the sun. Listening to the loving seas I rock my little one. Wandering in the night the wind rocks the wheat. Listening to the loving winds I rock my sweet. The Father rocks his thousand worlds silent, mild. Feeling His hand in the darkness I rock my child. 2 3
  8. 8. Dew This was a rose dew-laden. This was my breast with my baby. She closes her petals to hold it safe, turns from the wind, lest it slip away. For it came down to her from immense heaven, and so she must suspend her breath. Her good fortune makes her hold still, hold still: rose of all roses most fulfilled. This was a rose dew-laden. This was my breast with my baby. 4 5
  9. 9. Give me your Hand Give me your hand and give me your love, give me your hand and dance with me. A single flower, and nothing more, a single flower is all we’ll be. Keeping time in the dance together, singing the tune together with me, grass in the wind, and nothing more, grass in the wind is all we’ll be. I’m called Hope and you’re called Rose: but losing our names we’ll both go free, a dance on the hills, and nothing more, a dance on the hills is all we’ll be. 6 7
  10. 10. Fear I don’t want my daughter to get turned into swallow. She’d dive straight up to heaven and never come down to our mattress, She’d make a nest up in the eaves and I couldn’t comb her hair. I don’t want my daughter turned into a swallow. I don’t want my daughter to get made into a princess. If she wears golden slippers how can she play in the fields? And when the night comes she wouldn’t lie beside me. I don’t want my daughter turned into a princess. And most of all I don’t want them to go and make her queen! They’d set her on a throne so high I couldn’t reach it, and when the night came I couldn’t rock her. I don’t want my daughter to become a queen! 8 9
  11. 11. Little Bud I had a little flower bud here, next to my heart. It was as white and tiny as a grain of rice. From the light I hid it, when the sun was hot. I had a little flower bud close against my heart. It kept growing and growing, longer than my shadow. It was tall as a tree, and its brow like the sun. It kept growing and growing and filled my lap, and went off down the roads like a singing stream… I’ve lost it, so I’m singing to rock my sorrow: ‘I had a little flower bud close against my heart.’ 10 11
  12. 12. Discovery I came on this little boy when I was in the fields; I found him sleeping in the standing wheat. Or maybe I was coming through the vineyard, looking for the little clusters, and brushed against his cheek. And that’s why I’m afraid he’ll disappear like frost from the vine leaves if I stay asleep. 12 13
  13. 13. The Girl with the Crippled Hand Maybe a clam snapped up my little finger and maybe the clam fell in the sand and the sea swallowed up the sand. And then a whaler fished it from the sea and the whaler sailed to Gibraltar, and fishermen are singing on Gibraltar, “A wonder of the earth we’ve found in the sea, the wondrous little finger of a girl. If she’s missing it let her come seek it!” People might give me a ship to go and get it, and give me a captain for the ship, and give me soldiers for the captain, and I’ll need a city for the soldiers, Marseilles, with towers and squares and ships, the finest city in the whole wide world, but not so fine for a little girl whose little finger was stolen by the sea. And the whalers are singing shanties, and they’re waiting, waiting on Gibraltar..... 14 15
  14. 14. Larks They were in the scattered wheat. As we came near, the whole flock flew, and the poplars stood as if struck by a hawk. Sparks in stubble when they rise, silver thrown up in air. They’re past before they pass, too quick for praise. Eyes are too slow to see the whole flock’s taken wing, and we shout out, “Larks!” at what’s up – lost – singing. In the air they wounded they’ve left us with a longing, a tremor, a wonder half of the body, half of the soul. Larks, child – see, larks rise from the wheat! 16 17
  15. 15. Fire Since night’s already on us, with its line that dims and blurs, let’s go home by the road of the Angel and the herds. Now they light in houses the Fire in the kindling-wood, Fire that could kill you but only does you good. It leaps in birds of red and blue, it goes, yet stays and keeps you warm, where you go it goes with you. It’s in my heart, but does no harm, It’s in the song I sing to you. Love it wherever you find it! In the dark, in the cold, in death, follow worshipping behind it, blest by the Archangel’s breath. 18 19
  16. 16. The Ones Not Dancing The crippled girl says: how can I be a dancer? Do your dancing in your heart, we answer. The stream says: I can’t sing if I’am dry. Do your singing in your heart, we reply. The poor dead thistle says: My dance is at an end. We say: Let your heart fly on the wind. God in Heaven says: How can I get down? We say: Descend in light to dance us in our round. All the valley’s dancing where the sunlight flashes. Whoever doesn’t join us, his heart is dust and ashes. 20 21
  17. 17. Little Star Little star, fallen on my heart to shine: ah, such a miracle can’t be mine. I fell asleep one night and woke with her fallen shining in my braided hair. I called my sisters, and they hurried to me: A light growing, trembling, in the sheets, do you see? And I called to the unbelievers, from my dooryard, Look, she’s not a baby, feel her, she’s a star! All my friends, excited, crowded into my house, some carry her for me, and some of them kiss. Days and days now there’s been festival around the cradle where burns my star. This year no frost falls on the gardens, the cattle don’t die, the vines are laden. The women all bless me and my love replies: Ah, let her sleep, my little star-child! Light pours from her body, light pours from her eyes, and I watch her and weep, for she’s mine, she’s mine! 22 23
  18. 18. Little Feet Children’s little feet, blue with cold, how can you be seen and not protected, dear Lord! Little feet bruised by every stone, abused by the snow, the mud: Blind eyes don’t see that where you pass you leave a living flower of light. That where you set your bleeding sole the sweet herb grows more sweet. Since you walk the straight streets, be heroic, as you are complete. Children’s little feet, jewels of suffering, how can those who pass you not see! 24 25
  19. 19. The Bit of Straw This one that was a waxen doll, but she wasn’t a waxen doll at all, but a bit of chaff where they thresh the grain. But she wasn’t really a bit of chaff, but the stiff flower that follows the sun. She wasn’t the flower, though, she was a gleam of sun on the windowpane. She wasn’t gleam of sun at all but a bit of straw that got into my eyes. Come here and look how I lost it all, in this one big tear, my true festival! 26 27
  20. 20. Animals Small beasts prowl and bleat, sniffing at your hands and feet. Another realm, another earth gave the animals their birth. Like children seeking home they seem, dark and passing in a dream. In their cloudcurled manes and wools, in their polished shining shells, coppery or pied or flecked, they make the world a picturebook. Child of the Ark, may you hear their call And dance in the Round of the Animals! 28 29
  21. 21. The Parrot The green and yellow parrot, the green and saffron parrot says “Ugly” to me in its nasal voice out of its Satanic beak. I’m not ugly, for if I’m ugly, so is my mother, who’s like the sun, and the light she gazes at is ugly, the wind that bears her voice, the water that bears her body, ugly, and the world, and the One who made it. The green and yellow parrot, the green and changing-color parrot calls me “Ugly” because it’s hungry, and I bring it bread and wine myself, for I’m sick of looking at it, always perching, always changing color… 30 31
  22. 22. The Peacock What if the wind blew and bore away the clouds, and there was a peacock flying in the clouds, what if the peacock came to my hand and my hand is going to wither, and this morning I gave my hand to the king who came to be married: O for the sky, O for the wind and the cloud, all gone with the king’s peacock! 32 33
  23. 23. Pine Woods As we’re going through the woods trees pass before you now, and I stop and show you to them, but they’re too stiff to bow. Night puts everything to bed but the pines that stand upright, old, deep-scarred, slowly welling holy resins in the night. If they could they’d pick you up and carry you farther and farther, passing you from arm to arm, from father to father… 34 35
  24. 24. The Rat A rat ran after a deer, deer ran after a jaguar, jaguars chased buffalo, and the buffalo chased the sea. Catch the ones who chase and flee! Catch the rat, catch the deer, catch the buffalo and the sea! Look, look at the rat in front, in its paws is a woollen thread, with that thread I sew my gown, in that gown I will be wed. Climb up and run, breathless run, ceaseless chase across the plain after the carriage, the flying veil, after the bride and bridal the train! 36 37
  25. 25. Weaving the Round Where shall we go to weave the round? Shall we go down to the ocean beach? The sea’ll dance in a thousand waves to make us an orange-blossom wreath. Shall we go where the hills come down? The mountains are going to answer, as if every stone in the world started singing and dancing. Even better, let’s go to the woods: voice will wreathe together with voice, songs of children, songs of birds meeting and kissing on the breeze! Making the round, the endless round, we’ll go to the woods to twine the wreath, and weave it wherever the hills come down and along the beaches of all the seas. 38 39
  26. 26. 40 Illustrations by students of Jindal Vidya Mandir Schools A.Niranjan (Std 7 B) Adabala Srilatha (Std 9 C) Akshata.S.S (Std 10 A) Ashmita Chowdhary (Std 9 A) Bhavana.T.G (Std 8 A) Chandana.S.Dhongade (Std 10 B) Debarsho Sannyasi (Std 7 B) Dimple Atry (Std 10 C) Gautam Gupta (Std 9 B) Kiran Mai (Std 8 C) Krishna Mandal (Std 8 B) Meenakshi Patil (Std 10 A) Neha Dabholkar (Std 10 A) Nihal (Std 7 C) Niti Shri Raul (Std 8 A) P.Kushali (Std 7 C) Pallavi.M.S (Std 7 D) Priti Bhosle (Std 8 A) Rahul Yadav (Std 8 B) Santosh Vishwakarma (Std 8 B) Sejal Patil (Std 10 B) Shagun Bera (Std 7 A) Shashikant Pradhan (Std 9 C) Shivangi Jadon (Std 9 B) Shyam Patil (Std 9 A) Sona Singh (Std 9 C) Sridevi.R.C (Std 7 D) Sunil Jaiswar (Std 9 C) Sushil.K.Gupta (Std 10 A) U.S.Ramya (Std 8 A) Vedatroyee Ghosh (Std 9 A) Vedatroyee Ghosh (Std 9 A)
  27. 27. JSW Foundation collaboration with Embassy of Chile Vakils Feffer & Simons Pvt. Ltd. Embassy of Chile Logo BARCODE

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