The Stranger

The Stranger (La Extranjera)

She speaks in her way of her savage seas

With unknown algae and unknown sands;

She prays to a formless, weightless God,

Aged, as if dying.

In our garden now so strange,

She has planted cactus and alien grass.

The desert zephyr fills her with its breath

And she has loved with a fierce, white passion

She never speaks of, for if she were to tell

It would be like the face of unknown stars.

Among us she may live for eighty years,

Yet always as if newly come,

Speaking a tongue that plants and whines

Only by tiny creatures understood.

And she will die here in our midst

One night of utmost suffering,

With only her fate as a pillow,

And death, silent and strange.

– Gabriela Mistral


From: Gabriela Mistral – The Poet and Her Work

By: Margot Arce de Vazquez
Translated by: Helene Masslo Anderson
New York University Press 1964


Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral at

Books on Gabriela Mistral at

– Gabriela Mistral

Gabriela Mistral Poems

( Nobel Prize for Literature)   ( Female Poets)