17 September 2010

César Vallejo

[from César Vallejo's Trilce, tr. Clayton Eshleman, Wesleyan, 1992)

The grown-ups
— when are they coming back?
Blind Santiago is ringing six o'clock,
and it's already pretty dark.

Mother said she wouldn't be late.

Aguedita, Nativa, Miguel,
be careful going around there, where
stooped souls in torment
have just passed twanging their memories,
toward the silent barnyard, and where
the hens still getting settled,
had been so frightened.
We'd better stay here.
Mother said she wouldn't be late.

We shouldn't fret. Let's keep looking at
the boats — mine's the nicest of all!
we've been playing with all day long,
without fighting, how it should be:
they've stayed on the well water, ready,
loaded with candy for tomorrow.

So let's wait, obedient and with no
other choice, for the return, the apologies
of the grown-ups always in front
leaving us the little ones at home,
as if we couldn't
go away.

Aguedita, Nativa, Miguel?
I call out, I grope in the dark.
They can't have left me all alone,
the only prisoner can't be me.

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