Sor Juana's Apologia
Why persecute me, World, behind a thousand faces?
In what do I offend you, when all I am demanding
Is to conform to graces my understanding,
Not to my understanding those graces?
I regard not treasures nor mundane riches;
Thus have I always tranquillity bought
By putting riches into my thought,
Not giving my thought to those riches.
And I do not regard beauties that, taken,
Are imperial spoils for over-long centuries;
Nor can treacherous wealth my pleasure waken;
For I hold it better, in these ckear verities,
To let the vanities of life be shaken
Than vainly to waste my life in vanities.
Alas! I cannot marry;
no merriness for me,
a wolf has seized my lamb,
a pure and show-white lamb.
for wolf with vicious eye,
And shall man sow sorrow,
seed sadness in the field
when mouse has blighted harvest,
the sweet and golden harvest?
New work awaits the hand,
Love in every way may veer,
may fall away, may fail.
As rivers overflow we err--
borders burden by being there --
waves will war, fight and flail,
for bounds are death: death we fear.
Yet every water must be bound
or, formless, it will forceless move,
creep and seep devoid of rush
like words that waver into hush,
enslaved by furrow and by groove.
This way may never sea be found.
The force of love to rush, to flood,
is force of love to river be,
not pool nor puddle on the plain:
it moves with end and not in vain,
to flow through vale to violet sea,
to find a home in unbound good.
Hear the lauds of Zion,
hallels in the heights:
sunrise-hosts of angels
raise their swords of light!
Witnessing the Presence,
scattering the night,
singing songs of glory,
Michael leads the fight.