To Be a Poet by Florbela Espanca

To be a poet is to be taller, to be larger
Than men. To bite like others kiss.
It is to be a beggar and to give like you are king
of the kingdom of brief and ever-lasting pain.
It is to have a thousand wishes, splendor
And not even know what you desire.
It is to have here inside a star, a flame.
It is to have the condor’s talons and wings.
It is to be hungry, to thirst for the infinite.
The gold and satin mornings like an antique helmet;
It is to condense the world into a single cry,
And it is to love you, even so, desperately.
You are the soul, the blood, and the life in me
And I tell it to everyone through my song.

[Translated from Portuguese by Kay Cosgrove]

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