Who said that a body carved from kisses shines resplendently, an orb of happiness? Oh star of mine, descend! May your light finally be flesh, be body, here upon the grass. May I at last possess you, throbbing in the reeds, star fallen to the earth, who for my love would sacrifice your blood or gleam. No, never, heavenly one! Here, humble and tangible, the earth awaits you. Here, a man loves you.
From "Shadow of Paradise" (University of California Press: $25; 232 pp.), translated and with an introduction by Hugh A. Harter, foreword by Claudio Rodriguez. Aleixandre, still little known in the United States, received the Spanish National Prize for Literature in 1933, Spain's Critics Prize in 1963, 1969 and 1975 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1977. "Shadow of Paradise," begun just after the Spanish Civil War and not published until 1944, mourns, among other losses, the lost paradise of creativity that was Spain in the early decades of the 20th Century.