Amaro Lagrimar – II. The Juniper Tree by Vittoria Colonna

See that lovely juniper, pressed so hard,
angry winds swirl round her, but she’ll not let
her leaves fall or scatter; clenched, branches held
high, she gathers strength; her refuge within.

This, my friend, is a picture of my soul
standing firm against all; if life’s ravaged,
weakened me, my fear’s contained, and I win
by enduring a pain which makes it hurt

to breathe. Mine was a noble dream, sheltered
in his splendor and love, my pride would be
restored; I would encounter life’s bitter

battles. Nature taught this tree to resist:
in me you see what reason can perform
how from the worst evil good can grow.


Date: c1530 (original in Italian); 2001 (translation in English)

By: Vittoria Colonna (1492-1547)

Translated by: Ellen Moody (1976- )


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