Alejandra Pizarnik
El árbol de Diana, 1962


El poema que no digo,
el que no merezco.
Miedo de ser dos
camino del espejo:
alguien en mí dormido
me come y me bebe.

Pizarnik, Alejandra. “14.” Poesía completa. Editorial Lumen, 2015, pp. 116.


The poem that I do not say,
the one I do not disserve.
Fear of being two
road of the reflection:
someone asleep in me
eats me and drinks me.

Alejandra Pizarnik (1936-72) was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina to Ukrainian Jewish parents. She was heavily influenced by the French symbolists, primarily Mallarmé and Rimbaud, whose young restless souls no doubt offered solace to Pizarnik, a fellow adolescent struggling with her self-esteem and drug addiction. Reoccurring tensions in her poetry include loneliness, childhood, pain and death. This poem is included in her fourth collection, Árbol de Diana, published after her travels to Paris. Pizarnik committed suicide at the age of thirty-six.

Pizarnik’s poem is short, but powerful. The poetic voice struggles with identity, specifically the split identity suffered by a being who is simultaneously a human and a poet. The human embodies the corporeal self while the poet murmurs an internal voice looking to break through. Are the human and the poet complimentary forces? Do they reflect each other across the mirror that presides in the reflection of their eyes? As the human walks the earth, the poet grows within, nourishing itself on the human’s life, its lived matter. Fear manifests itself in this tension, this clash between forces. Fear is the poet on the verge of breaking free.

Prepared by Mai Hunt

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