Continuing my series of posts, where I present different Latin American poets, I would like to provide you with information about Gabriela Mistral.
Gabriela Mistral (1889–1957) was the pseudonym of Lucila Godoy Alcayaga, a Chilean poet, educator, diplomat, and feminist who was the first Latin American (and, so far, the only Latin American woman) to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1945. Some central themes in her poems are nature, betrayal, love, a mother’s love, sorrow and recovery, travel, and Latin American identity as formed from a mixture of Native American and European influences. Her portrait also appears on the 5,000 Chilean peso bank note.
Although I am not a huge fan of hers, I have a favourite poem, which is:
Decalogue Of The Artist
I. You shall love beauty, which is the shadow of God
over the Universe.
II.There is no godless art. Although you love not the
Creator, you shall bear witness to Him creating His likeness.
III.You shall create beauty not to excite the senses
but to give sustenance to the soul.
IV. You shall never use beauty as a pretext for luxury
and vanity but as a spiritual devotion.
V. You shall not seek beauty at carnival or fair
or offer your work there, for beauty is virginal
and is not to be found at carnival or fair.
VI. Beauty shall rise from your heart in song,
and you shall be the first to be purified.
VII.The beauty you create shall be known
as compassion and shall console the hearts of men.
VIII.You shall bring forth your work as a mother
brings forth her child: out of the blood of your heart.
IX. Beauty shall not be an opiate that puts you
to sleep but a strong wine that fires you to action,
for if you fail to be a true man or a true woman,
you will fail to be an artist.
X. Each act of creation shall leave you humble,
for it is never as great as your dream and always
inferior to that most marvelous dream of God
which is Nature.