Juan Antonio González Iglesias

The Reign of Hadrian


It’s about, above all, a theory of knowledge,

of the manner in which a man steals himself little by 

little from the ideas of his time which he rejects. 

Marguerite Yourcenar, [on Zeno], Letter to Alain Bosquet,

January 1, 1964


The reign of Hadrian

is like the October the Japanese 

celebrate. But the nostalgia

I feel from those years isn’t a result

of the absence of gods. Nor is it due to

the joyful government of this monarch.

Nor to the Hellenic culture, his trips

or the stability of the borders 

of his empire. I recognize

that as my homeland,

as my own time,

because I sense that then I wouldn’t have

this feeling of deepening 

exile that wakes 

in me the age that I have been given,

the anguishing culture

dictated by some who don’t love, 

the intellectuals

of the middle class, those

who are neither poets nor philosophers,

the cloudy future,

the uncertain situation of my country. 



Translated by Curtis Bauer
“The Reign of Hadrian” was published in Eros Is More (Alice James Books, 2014).


You can read and listen the poem in the original Spanish here