An End, a Hope, a How, or a When

Luisa Sigea de Velasco
1522 – 1560


An end, a hope, a how or a when;
they bring behind them what is rightfully mine;
I spend months and years
in vain, and I follow behind that for which I hope;
I am beside myself, and I am looking to see
if what I want exceeds nature;
and thus, I stay awake and count the sad nights,
but I cannot recount what I most feel.

In vain each opportunity passes me by,
but I do not fail to mourn this loss;
I speak with my senses and ask
if there could be a justification for such suffering;
they respond: it is possible, although dead;
what I understand of this, I do not know how to express,
not because of a lack of reason or fortune,
but rather, because of not knowing you in the world.

In this, there is no answer;
not even reason enough to end my vexation,
and since my hope responds so poorly,
it is fair that I respond by remaining silent;
fortune wielded its spear against me,
and the means fled me so as to impede me
from being able to reach the end for which I hope,
and so it compels me to follow that which I do not desire.

Because of this situation I remain behind,
and unhappiness being so close,
I count the sad nights; I can never
reach an accounting of the sufferings I encounter there;
in this, I already fear myself
because of how my thoughts threaten me;
but let life pass by thus, and let it pass quickly,
for there can be no end to my wanting.

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