I can't hold you and I can't leave you

colgoo's picture

I can't hold you and I can't leave you



Liner Notes: 

So, in July, I put up a challenge to set another poet's words to music, whose work is now in the public domain. There have been a few lovely songs that have appeared. Today, I finally recorded my own rise to the challenge.

My posthumous collaborator is the Mexican poet, Juana Ines DeLa Cruz (1651-1695). She was a self-taught nun and was fluent in Latin. She also wrote in Nahuatl and Spanish, writing on themes of love, feminism and religion. Her criticism of misogyny got her into trouble with her male church leaders and she was forced to sell all her books and focus her charity on the poor. The next year, while nursing her fellow nuns who'd caught a plague, she got sick and died.

Anyway, I found her story compelling and this particular poem of hers pulled me into a melody....


I can't hold you and I can't leave you,
And sorting the reasons to leave you or hold you,
I find an intangible one to love you,
And many tangible ones to forgo you.

As you won't change, nor let me forgo you,
I shall give my heart a defense against you,
So that half shall always be armed to abhor you,
Though the other half be ready to adore you.

Then, if our love, by loving flourish,
Let it not in endless feuding perish;
Let us speak no more in jealousy and suspicion.

He offers not part, who would all receive---
So know that when it is your intention
Mine shall be to make believe.

Please keep your comments respectful, honest, and constructive. Please focus on the song and not the demo.


cindyrella's picture

Wow! Fascinating back story and poem and your music and vocals add such beauty to it. Now I want to find more from her. Perfect!

musicsongwriter's picture

Beautiful song. So wonderful to listen to. Thank you for the challenge and for your inspiring take on it.

OdilonGreen's picture

I like the escalating strength and conviction and passion; how your playing and vocals start tentative and quiet, but becomes progressively more assured and powerful, even during the quieter parts. It captures the theme of the lyric, and the poet's decision-making process and eventual feeling of self-assurance and resolution, very nicely indeed. Plus, your singing is quite lovely here.

Jerry Pettit's picture

Beautiful, my dear! Wonderful job on the vocal--on pitch and great emotion. Lovely melody! Just...wow!!

Love the orchestration. Great poem and an interesting one for a Nun, however, not a passionate authentic human being.

Well done!

(Yes, I forgot about that "challenge"... so, gotta find a poem now... -- "we'll see" ... Smile )

Jyllian's picture

This is really lovely - I'm here looking for a song about what's happening with people these days. This isn't it - but it's a very nice surprise.