Below are three love poems, two classic love poems by two of the most famous Renaissance poets, Francisco de Quevedo (1580–1645), “Amor constante más allá de la muerte” and  Garcilaso de la Vega (1501-1536), Soneto V—both selections are presented in Spanish and English. The third poem is my own work, “páramo love song.”

Following these love poems is a Valentine’s Day menu consisting of Coconut-lime Chickpea Soup with rice and nan, and—for dessert—Little Pots of Chocolate with Bourbon, Brown Sugar Whipped Cream and Candied Blood Orange. The menu includes recipes and photographs. 

Amor constante más allá de la muerte

Francisco de Quevedo, 1580-1645

Cerrar podrá mis ojos la postrera
sombra que me llevare el blanco día;
y podrá desatar esta alma mía
hora, a su afán ansioso linsojera;

mas no de esotra parte en la ribera
dejará la memoria en donde ardía;
nadar sabe mi llama la agua fría,
y perder el respeto a ley severa:

Alma, a quien todo un Dios prisión ha sido,
venas, que humor a tanto fuego han dado,
medulas, que han gloriosamente ardido,

su cuerpo dejarán, no su cuidado;
serán ceniza, mas tendrán sentido;
polvo serán, mas polvo enamorado.

Love Constant Beyond Death
Francisco de Quevedo, 1580-1645
Translated by Jeremy Paden

Though that final shadow might close my eyes,
might steal me away from the bright, white day;
though in a flash my soul might be set loose
from all that it has fretfully desired;

it will not leave the memory of my love
abandoned on that far shore where it burned;
my flame knows how to swim those cold waters,
it knows how to flout that sternest of laws,

oh soul, that has been a prison-house to God,
oh veins, that have fed the fire with their humors,
oh marrows, that have marvelously burned,

this body, they might abandon, not it cares;
they might turn to ash, but they will make sense;
dust, they might be, but they’ll be dust in love.

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Soneto V

Garcilaso de la Vega, 1501-1536

Escrito está en mi alma vuestro gesto,
y cuanto yo escribir de vos deseo;
vos sola lo escribisteis, yo lo leo
tan solo, que aun de vos me guardo en esto.

En esto estoy y estaré siempre puesto;
que aunque no cabe en mí cuanto en vos veo,
de tanto bien lo que no entiendo creo,
tomando ya la fe por presupuesto.

Yo no nací sino para quereros;
mi alma os ha cortado a su medida;
por hábito del alma mismo os quiero.

Cuanto tengo confieso yo deberos;
por vos nací, por vos tengo la vida,
por vos he de morir, y por vos muero.

Sonnet V

Garcilaso de la Vega, 1501-1536
Translated by Jeremy Paden

Your movements are written on my soul,
and however much I might want to write
about you, you are the sole author, I
a simple reader who follows your lead.

I am and will be always your reader;
what I have seen of you exceeds my grasp
such goodness have I witnessed I believe
what I can’t understand, faith is my ground.

I was born only in order to love you;
my soul has been tailored to your size;
the habits of my soul are to love you.

All that I have, I confess, I owe you;
I was born for you, through you I have life,
I will die for you, and for you I die.

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páramo love song

Jeremy Paden

after we crossed
the high desert
pushed past the last

of the gnarled trees
we found we had
climbed into clouds

& we could not say
where waterlogged sky
& waterlogged earth began

were the spiked crowns
of the frailejón covered
in yellow sunflowers

combing water from the sky
or were they sutures
that bound cloud to earth

you turned to me & said:
hold me like the espeletia
holds cloud & land together

soak yourself in me
so your roots & crown
are always drenched

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Food Pairings: I have paired these love poems with a Valentine’s Day menu of Coconut-lime Chickpea Soup with rice and nan, and—for dessert—Little Pots of Chocolate with Bourbon, Brown Sugar Whipped Cream and Candied Blood Orange. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Coconut-lime Chickpea Soup with rice

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or olive)
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped (about 1/2 of an onion)
  • teaspoons crushed garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
  • 1 tsp fresh minced ginger
  • 1 pint baby portabella mushrooms (halved or quartered)
  • red bell pepper, deseeded & chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 can | 14 oz coconut milk
  • cups | 720 ml vegetable broth
  • can | 15 oz chickpeas, drained 
  • 2 cups cooked jasmine rice
  • 2 cups spinach (optional)
  • tablespoons | 30 ml fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  • sesame oil to taste
  • chopped cilantro, optional
  • chopped green onion (garnish)
  • chopped habanero or serrano (garnish)

 

  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottom pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot add the onion. Cook until very soft, translucent and breaking down, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic. Stir and cook until fragrant, constantly stirring to avoid burning the garlic.

  2. Add the mushroom, red pepper, ginger, and turmeric to the pot & stir.

  3. Add the entire can of coconut milk and the vegetable stock. Stir the pot, place a lid on top, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat on the stove to a simmer and remove the lid. Cook about 15 minutes.*

  4. Add the chickpeas and cooked rice.

  5. Add spinach.
  6. Stir in the lime juice. Taste and season sesame oil, salt and/or soy sauce as needed and add cilantro.

  7. Serve with warm naan.
 
*If using uncooked rice. Rice that has been rinsed, soaked for 20 minutes, and drained can be added to the before the vegetable stock. When cooking the rice with the soup, add coconut milk near the end of the 15 minutes.
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 Naan

2 tsp dry active yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup water (warm but not hot)
2 1/2-3 cups flour, divided (I used a mix of all purpose and whole wheat… 1 1/4 whole and 1 3/4 all purpose)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 large egg

1. Combine yeast, sugar and water. Let sit for a few minutes or until it is frothy. Whisk in oil, yogurt, and egg until evenly combined.
2. In a separate medium bowl, combine whole wheat flour with the salt. Add wet ingredients to the flour/salt mixture, stir until well combined. Add all-purpose flour, 1/2 a cup at a time, until you can no longer stir with spoon (about 1 to 1.5 cups later).
3. Knead the ball of dough on a floured surface for about 3 or 4 minutes, add small amounts of flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking. This could be a 1/2 cup more. The dough should be smooth and very soft but not sticky. Too much flour make the dough too stiff.
3. Loosely cover dough and let rise for about an hour, until double in size. Flatten the dough into a disc and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a small ball.
3. Heat a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Roll one ball out at a time until it is about 1/4 inch thick or approximately 6 inches in diameter. Place disk on hot skillet and cook until the bottom is golden brown and large bubbles have formed on the surface. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown as well. Stack on a plate and cover with a towel to keep warm as you cook the rest.

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Little Pots of Chocolate with Bourbon, Brown Sugar Whipped Cream and Candied Blood Orange

for pots
2 cups heavy cream

3/4 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, at room temperature, coarsely chopped
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons bourbon (or Grand Marnier)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
(orange peel, optional… strain out if you want the pots de creme to be totally smooth)
1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF (160ºC).
2. Put the chocolate in a medium bowl.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks with sugar, vanilla, and bourbon.
4. Heat cream and salt (and orange peel, if using) in a small saucepan until it simmers. Pour into chocolate. Stir with a whisk until smooth.
5. Gradually add the melted chocolate mixture to the egg yolk mixture while whisking until well-blended. Strain the mixture into another bowl.
6. Place 6 ramekins or custard cups in a baking dish. Pour the chocolate custards in the ramekins. Add hot water to the baking dish until it reaches halfway up the outside of the ramekins.
5. Cover snugly with foil and carefully place the pan in the oven. Bake until the custards are set around the edges (about 30 minutes) but still slightly soft and jiggly when you nudge them. Ovens can vary. Let cool away from kitchen traffic. (I never actually cover my pots de creme with foil).
6. As soon as the custards are cool enough to handle, remove them from the hot water bath and place them on a cooling rack. (I use kitchen tongs and let them cool on a rack before putting them in the fridge.)
7. Let cool in fridge 2-3 hours
8. Top with whipped cream and candied oranges
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