“Madrigal” de Luis de Góngora y Argote

This extract is another example of a “madrigal“, a type of song originating from the Renaissance. The poet talks about the “jazmines” that he’s picked for his lover — and the “abejas” that chased him! Read More

“Rima XXI”, por Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer

Another short and powerful poem by Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, this poem of four lines defines poetry itself… although the poet’s answer may say more about his feelings for the asker than his actual opinion! Can you memorise this poem? Read More

“El Día que Me Quieras”, de Amado Nervo

Amado Nervo is considered one of the greatest Mexican poets of the 19th century. Try not to get a lump in your throat as you translate this beautiful poem, in which he hopes for a day when his loved one returns his feelings. Also, from a grammatical point of view, note the repeated use of the future tense (there will be, they will go) and the use of the subjunctive in the title. Read More


“Hora tras Hora, Día tras Día”, de Rosalía de Castro

Another poem by Rosalía de Castro, this wistful piece uses images of nature to describe the passing of time. Like most of Castro’s poems, it is tinged with a sense of loss. Read More

“Madrigal”, de Gutierre de Cetina

This sixteenth century poem is one of the most famous Spanish poems ever. Written by former soldier Gutierre de Cetina, it seems to be a traditional love poem, describing “clear and serene eyes” — but they look at him so angrily that it doesn’t seem like their owner returns the poet’s affections! Read More

“Soneto a Lisi”, de Francisco de Quevedo

By the same poet who wrote “A una nariz”, this exquisite sonnet explores both love and death, and how true love can  survive even death. In the last line, the poet claims that the remains of his dead body will continue to love: “dust they will be, but dust in love”. Do you find this romantic or a little creepy? Read More

“Rima X”, de Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer

This short, haunting nineteenth century poem is the tenth poem in Rimas, a book of Bécquer’s poetry published by his friends after his early death. Another love poem, it uses a series of metaphors to describe the effects of love — but as love is passing by, does that mean the poet himself is unloved?

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“Las Campanas”, de Rosalía de Castro

This beautiful nineteenth century poem is by one of Galacia’s most respected poets, Rosalía de Castro. Here she describes the sound of bells at dawn, comparing it birdsong and a lamb’s bleat. She writes with a voice both earnest and melancholy, not unlike that of her contemporary Emily Dickinson.

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“Varios efectos del Amor”, de Lope de Vega

This energetic sonnet, written in the seventeenth century, explores the various ways that romantic love affects you — something that most of us can easily empathise with! Check out the unusual rhyming pattern, as each line ends with one of four alternating sounds. Read More

“Cossante”, de Diego Hurtado de Mendoza

Over six hundred years old, this short poem personifies a tree, and its use of repetition makes it sound a little like a tree swaying in the wind. Read it out loud and listen as different ideas are introduced, rephrased and repeated.

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“A una nariz”, de Francisco de Quevedo

Written by one of Spain’s most famous writers in the seventeenth century, this well-known poem turns the sonnet form on its head by describing not romantic love, but a man with an enormous nose! The metaphors become more and more bizarre, like a strange dream getting out of hand! Do you find it humourous or simply absurd? Read More