I seek a form that my style cannot discover,
a bud of thought that wants to be a rose.
Prosas Profanas y Otros Poemas (Profane Hymns and Other Poems). I Seek a Form (1896).
Dichoso el árbol, que es apenas sensitivo,
y más la piedra dura porque esa ya no siente,
pues no hay dolor más grande que el dolor de ser vivo,
ni mayor pesadumbre que la vida consciente.
Blessed is the almost insensitive tree,
more blessed is the hard stone that doesn't feel,
for no pain is greater than the pain of being alive,
and no sorrow more intense than conscious life.
Cantos de vida y esperanza (1901), "Lo fatal" ("Fatalism")
Quoted in Chambers Dictionary of Quotations (1997), p. 305.
The America of Moctezuma and Atahualpa,
the aromatic America of Columbus,
Catholic America, Spanish America,
the America where noble Cuauhtémoc said:
"I am not on a bed of roses" —our America,
trembling with hurricanes, trembling with Love:
O men with Saxon eyes and barbarous souls,
our America lives. And dreams. And loves.
And it is the daughter of the Sun. Be careful.
Cantos de Vida y Esperanza (Songs of Life and Hope). A Roosevelt (To Roosevelt) (1905).
Los Cisnes y Otros Poemas (The Swans and Other Poems) (1905)
The tree is happy because it is scarcely sentient;
the hard rock is happier still, it feels nothing:
there is no pain as great as being alive,
no burden heavier than that of conscious life.
Pity for him who one day looks upon
his inward sphinx and questions it. He is lost.