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by Alejandra Pizarnik (1936-1972)

The island flees

And again the young woman climbs the wind

and discovers the death of the prophet bird


it`s the vanquished fire


it`s the flesh

the leaf

the stone

lost in the source of torment

like the mariner in the horror of civilization

that purifies the fall of night


the young woman finds the mask of infinity

and breaks the wall of poetry.

Alejandra Pizarnik spent most of her short and emotionally troubled life between Buenos Aires and Paris writing poetry which was painfully dredged up from her turbulent soul. She suffered from depression which would eventually force her to take her own life, but which also enabled her mind absolute freedom of expression of thought and brutal truth. She walks the razor`s edge in an attempt to heal (as she saw it) the fundamental wound of human misery by laying bare her thought process to the public gaze. Alejandra holds nothing back: the intolerable pain, cruelty and tenderness she saw in humanity shows the mental conflict waging within her. This great poet really does deserve to be better known and more widely read outside of the Spanish speaking world, because she presented us with the rare gift of the wisdom of a troubled soul into perfect words.

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