The Horses


Shaggy and heavily natural, they stand
Immobile under their thick and cumbrous manes,
Pent in a barbed enclosure which contains,
By way of compensation, grazing land.

Nothing disturbs them now. In slow increase
They fatten like the grass. Doomed to be idle,
To haul no cart or wagon, wear no bridle,
They grow into a vegetable peace.

Soul is the issue of so strict a fate.
They harbor visions in their waking eyes,
And with their quiet ears participate
In heaven's pure serenity, which lies
So near all things–yet from the beasts concealed.
Serene now, superhuman, they crop their field.


                   Spanish; trans. Richard Wilbur


Jorge Guillen, Spanish, trans. Richard Wilbur, New and Collected Poems, Harcourt Brace and Co., 1988.