April 27, 2010

Who sins more, she who sins for pay? Or he who pays for sin?

In the name of Allah, compassionate & merciful بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ
Peace be with you السلام عليكم

This style of poem is in the Redondilla style. I studied and analyzed this poem in high school and I remember in true teenage fashion going "OH! no she didn't! what?! give it to them girl!"  MashaAllah.  I just loved her work and her life was extraordinaire.  Possibly one of the first Latin American feminists standing up for women.  Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz was incredibly talented as a child she learned a foreign language as a five year old or so based on just 3 lessons.  She would call out the injustices surrounding her whether they came from the church or the community.  She even wrote a scathing letter about a higher religious authority as a result her library was burned down and a religious order placed on her so she wouldn't write any more.

She was such a passionate person for justice and she was incredibly gifted in prose and at the time the only way a woman had the opportunity to write (I believe it was illegal) was to become a nun and she did.


Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz 
(12 November 1648/51 – 17 April 1695)
"Sátira filosófica

Hombres necios que acusáis
a la mujer, sin razón,
sin ver que sois la ocasión
de lo mismo que culpáis;

si con ansia sin igual
solicitáis su desdén,
por qué queréis que obren bien
si las incitáis al mal?

Combatís su resistencia
y luego, con gravedad,
decís que fue liviandad
lo que hizo la diligencia.

Parecer quiere el denuedo
de vuestro parecer loco,
al niño que pone el coco
y luego le tiene miedo.

Queréis, con presunción necia,
hallar a la que buscáis
para prentendida, Thais,
y en la posesión, Lucrecia.

¿Qué humor puede ser más raro
que el que, falto de consejo,
él mismo empaña el espejo
y siente que no esté claro?

Con el favor y el desdén
tenéis condición igual,
quejándoos, si os tratan mal,
burlándoos, si os quieren bien.

Opinión, ninguna gana,
pues la que más se recata,
si no os admite, es ingrata,
y si os admite, es liviana.

Siempre tan necios andáis
que, con desigual nivel,
a una culpáis por cruel
y a otra por fácil culpáis.

¿Pues como ha de estar templada
la que vuestro amor pretende?,
¿si la que es ingrata ofende,
y la que es fácil enfada?

Mas, entre el enfado y la pena
que vuestro gusto refiere,
bien haya la que no os quiere
y quejaos en hora buena.

Dan vuestras amantes penas
a sus libertades alas,
y después de hacerlas malas
las queréis hallar muy buenas.

¿Cuál mayor culpa ha tenido
en una pasión errada:
la que cae de rogada,
o el que ruega de caído?

¿O cuál es de más culpar,
aunque cualquiera mal haga;
la que peca por la paga
o el que paga por pecar?

¿Pues, para qué os espantáis
de la culpa que tenéis?
Queredlas cual las hacéis
o hacedlas cual las buscáis.

Dejad de solicitar,
y después, con más razón,
acusaréis la afición
de la que os fuere a rogar.

Bien con muchas armas fundo
que lidia vuestra arrogancia,
pues en promesa e instancia
juntáis diablo, carne y mundo
Silly, men--so very adept
at wrongly faulting womankind,
not seeing you're alone to blame
for faults you plant in woman's mind.

After you've won by urgent plea
the right to tarnish her good name,
you still expect her to behave--
you, that coaxed her into shame.

You batter her resistance down
and then, all righteousness, proclaim
that feminine frivolity,
not your persistence, is to blame.

When it comes to bravely posturing,
your witlessness must take the prize:
you're the child that makes a bogeyman,
and then recoils in fear and cries.

Presumptuous beyond belief,
you'd have the woman you pursue
be Thais when you're courting her,
Lucretia once she falls to you.

For plain default of common sense,
could any action be so queer
as oneself to cloud the mirror,
then complain that it's not clear?

Whether you're favored or disdained,
nothing can leave you satisfied.
You whimper if you're turned away,
you sneer if you've been gratified.

With you, no woman can hope to score;
whichever way, she's bound to lose;
spurning you, she's ungrateful--
succumbing, you call her lewd.

Your folly is always the same:
you apply a single rule
to the one you accuse of looseness
and the one you brand as cruel.

What happy mean could there be
for the woman who catches your eye,
if, unresponsive, she offends,
yet whose complaisance you decry?

Still, whether it's torment or anger--
and both ways you've yourselves to blame--
God bless the woman who won't have you,
no matter how loud you complain.

It's your persistent entreaties
that change her from timid to bold.
Having made her thereby naughty,
you would have her good as gold.

So where does the greater guilt lie
for a passion that should not be:
with the man who pleads out of baseness
or the woman debased by his plea?

Or which is more to be blamed--
though both will have cause for chagrin:
the woman who sins for money
or the man who pays money to sin?

So why are you men all so stunned
at the thought you're all guilty alike?
Either like them for what you've made them
or make of them what you can like.

If you'd give up pursuing them,
you'd discover, without a doubt,
you've a stronger case to make
against those who seek you out.

I well know what powerful arms
you wield in pressing for evil:
your arrogance is allied
with the world, the flesh, and the devil!


I don't have my notes so I am speaking out of memory both Thais and Lucrecia were historical figures of that time. Thais was a virtuous woman who was raped and she couldn't live with the shame so she committed suicide (may Allah swt save us from such trials, ameen) and Lucrecia (from memory) was the mistress of some general (maybe Roman not sure) who was known for her bedroom skills.  So basically in the poem she is saying you want Thais as your betrothed (pios, righteous, chaste woman) and you want Lucrecia (loose, slutty woman)in your bed.  I guess the modern day version would be Ludacris' "we want a lady in the street but a freak in the bed."

Some is lost in translation but I think the message is LOUD and clear.  I mean think about the situation of women during the 1600's and a woman was calling it as she saw it.  I mean she could have been killed!  

What do you guys think of her writing?


ps. I know am on FIRE tonight.  Probably wont post for a while, I think I may have out-posted myself.

5 comments:

Gabby Hijabi said...

You said it yourself, your on fire!! This is one of the most amazing posts i have ever read in any blog. Thanks so much for sharing!! I hope you post more like this!

NtN said...

Tuts, this is amazing!

.::Tuttie::. said...

@Gabby THANK YOU. That is so kind but you probably mean her writing (cuz its totally awesome!).

@Noor. I know! and this was written in the 1600's she had guts!

Mellika said...

Tuttie, who translated it? It's brilliantly done!

AlabasterMuslim said...

WOw, that was a great poem. Especially because of the time it was written in.

Crazy, I knew a few guys who would literally call girls sluts and whores when the girls rejected the men.

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