[When I stop to consider my calling]

By Roberto Tejada b. 1964 Roberto Tejada
When I stop to consider my calling, remark
the places a wayward temper impelled me
I’ve found in light of where I wandered lost
the most appalling evils could have befallen;
but when I disregard the journey it’s hard to
even fathom I endured so much affliction;
what’s more, my days being spent, I feel I’ve
seen my wariness go with them. I’ll come to
my end, for I surrendered artless to someone
with the science to dispel and destroy me if
so inclined, else the know-how to want to;
for if, with this very hand I could slaughter
myself, why—not on my account but because
so suited—would my enemy do otherwise?


Cuando me paro a contemplar mi estado
y a ver los pasos por do me han traído,
hallo, según por do anduve, perdido,
que la mayor mal pudiera haber llegado;

mas cuando del camino estó olvidado,
a tanto mal no sé por dó he venido;
sé que me acabo, y más he yo sentido
ver acabar conmigo mi cuidado.

Yo acabaré, que me entregué sin arte
a quien sabrá perderme y acabarme
si quisiere, y aún sabrá querello;

que, pues mi voluntad puede matarme,
la suya, que no es tanto de mi parte,
pudiendo, ¿qué hará sino hacello?

[Garcilaso de la Vega, 1501?-1536]

Roberto Tejada, “[When I stop to consider my calling]” from Exposition Park. Copyright © 2010 by Roberto Tejada. Reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.

Source: Exposition Park (Wesleyan University Press, 2010)

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Poet Roberto Tejada b. 1964

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Subjects Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Activities, Jobs & Working, Social Commentaries, Life Choices

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 Roberto  Tejada


An art historian, curator, and editor specializing in Latino and Latin American art, Roberto Tejada was born in Los Angeles. He earned a BA in comparative literature from New York University and a PhD in interdisciplinary media studies from the English Department at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is the author of the poetry chapbooks Gift & Verdict (1999) and Amulet Anatomy (2001) as well as the full-length . . .

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SUBJECT Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Activities, Jobs & Working, Social Commentaries, Life Choices

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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