Maria do Cebreiro

[There will be no culmination]

There will be no culmination

like the one you’ve dreamt of.

You will fall from the tower and rise again

only to fall once more.

You will taste the nectar of victory

only to see the bile of defeat prevail.

None of this, spoken in epic language,

will measure up

to the diction you have chosen. The book’s irony

is not that of the Greeks, but rather of the Romantics.

If destiny is ambiguous, it cannot be called.

Life means at once winning

and losing the bet.



Translated by Neil D. Anderson

“There will be no culmination” is from Os inocentes [The Innocents] (Editorial Galaxia, 2014).


You can read and listen to the poem in the original Galician here