It's been a while since I've posted a poem, so here's one for a Sunday, which is to say, for any day of the year at any time. It's by Jaime Sabines [Gutiérrez] (1926-1999, at left, from Casa en el horizonte), who was one of Mexico's best known and most beloved poets. He was a poet of earthiness, and wrote about love, hope, sadness, disappointment, the communion of the body and the spirit, and many other things in a language that was deceptively simple and direct. The critic Roberto Fernández Retamar labeled him the "Sniper of Literature," but I think of his poetry as arising straight out of the streets, of everyday life; though I have always been most fond of Octavio Paz and Xavier Villaurrutia among Mexico's great poets of the 20th century, Sabines has steadily grown on me. Here, then, from Blas Valdez's site, is "I love you at ten in the morning."
I LOVE YOU AT TEN IN THE MORNING
I love you at ten in the morning,
at eleven, at twelve noon.
I love you with my whole soul and
my whole body, sometimes, on a rainy afternoon.
But at two in the afternoon, or at three,
when I start to think about the two of us,
and you're thinking about dinner or the day's work,
or the amusements you don't have, I start to hate
you with a dull hatred, with half of the hatred
that I reserve for myself. Then I go back to loving you,
when we go to bed and I feel that you are made for me,
that in some way your knee and your belly are telling
me that, that my hands are assuring me of that,
and that there is nowhere I can come to or go to that
is better than your body. The whole of you comes to
meet me and for a moment we both disappear, we
put ourselves into the mouth of God, until I tell you
that I am hungry or sleepy. Every day I love you and
hate you irreparably. And there are days, besides, there
are hours, in which I don't know you, in which you are
as strange to me as somebody else's wife. Men worry me,
I worry about myself, my troubles bewilder me. Probably
there is a long time when I don't think about you at all.
So you see. Who could love you less than I do, my love?
Copyright © Jaime Sabines, 2006.
Grate painter, 6th Avenue and 12th Street, Greenwich Village