Itzel Yarger Zagal (1979-): Forbidden Fruit

Translated by Timothy Adès

Fruta prohibida

¿Qué humor puede ser más raro que el que,
falto de consejo,
él mismo empaña el espejo,
y siente que no esté claro?
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
Entre volcaneS la vieron nacer
envuelta en dOs climas Nepantla
bruja espíritu Rebelde mujer
persecución a Juana la santa.
Libros con locUra sembraste
sin causa sin rAzón solevantas
en falsa pose Niña no te conformaste
amor música A tu desnudez insensata.
Belleza entendImiento en la cabeza
no la cabeza siN entendimiento,
riqueza verdadEra fue tu perseverancia
hombres necioS sin sentimiento.
Igualdad y pariDad
presagios sin alEvosía y ventaja.
Voces como avaLancha de fuego
cada vez que unA mujer dice: ¡basta!
No más crucifiCadas,
madre loca o pRostituta,
del amor que bUscas
mestizaje de luZ y prohibida fruta.
For plain default of common sense,
could any action be so queer
as oneself to cloud the mirror,
then complain that it’s not clear?
Sor Juana de la Cruz – from ‘Stupid Men’ (anonymous translation)
Volcanoes bleSsed her nurturing:
Nepantla’s twOfold atmosphere,
Soul of a sorceRess, questioning.
They hounded Joan, the good, the pure.
You sowed yoUr books with lunacy,
uncaused unreAsoned mutiny,
conforming to No falsity:
love’s music, stArk simplicity.
Beauty, a brain, Intelligence,
without intelligeNce no brain.
true riches your rEsilience,
all the unfeeling Stupid men.
Fairness of genDer parity,
impartial, honEst prophecy.
Voices, an avaLanche of fire
whenever womAn says: no more!
Women! be cruCified no more,
no deranged motheR, prostitute…
That love you soUght, two bloodlines bore:
… Christ’s dazZling light, forbidden fruit!
Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès
The poet and nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, known as the Tenth Muse or the Phoenix of the Americas, is considered a pioneer of the feminist movement in the American continent and the first woman to be published there. She was born in Nepantla in the State of México in 1651 and died in 1695, leaving a vast literary inheritance, notably The First Dream, the poem Stupid Men, and the Response to Sor Filotea.

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