Sonata by Cuzco’s Luís Nieto Miranda

Charming Woman of Cuzco

A poet of lyric power, Cuzco’s celebrated Luís Nieto Miranda writes from the life of Cuzco’s working class, caught between the world of Peru’s cities and the life of rural Peru. He writes of the wind, the moon, and clouds, not with the pastoralism or romanticism of European poets but with the understanding of an interacting universe which is very active in human life, as is music and song. But more than anything else the tension of desire and distance fill his work, especially this piece, Sonata, from his collection Charango (A Cholo Romance).

Moon over Cuzco
Moon over Cuzco


The light of her look
leaves me in dreams.

Her hair is black.
Her neck, mother of pearl.

Her sweet hands stretch out
and white songs fly.

Under her blouse her breasts
suggest half oranges.

When I look at her,
with my eyes, her heart faints.

All of her, soft, seems
a tear of dawn.

The wind surrounds her by day.
At night the flutes weep.

A light fills her eyes
as if from a distant moon.

On her chest wails
a pale guitar.

Pain and absence spring up
when she looks and sings.

Like a river of stars
her silver song runs.

Her voice shakes in the air
like a white dove.

It is so song and so wing
that I stay dreaming
on the edge of her gaze.

Sunrise over Cuzco
Sunrise over Cuzco
Luís Peña Nieto
(translated by David Knowlton)


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