The Natural Perfections

José Emilio Pacheco

From the company of caterpillars

    the rosebush gathers

       what lies in store


Quiet little regiments of mouths

    that drill and nibble in the night

       Or under the great sun’s towering plenitude

          the natural perfections


There is no beauty before them

    Only avidity

       only the necessity of being alive


And they last long upon the land

    eliminating    like us




Pacheco, José Emilio. "The Natural Perfections." Trans. George McWhirter. Selected Poems. Eds. George McWhirter and José Emilio Pacheco. New York: New Directions, 1987. pp. 111-12.

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