Black Stone Lying On A White Stone

- 1892-1938
   I will die in Paris, on a rainy day,
on some day I can already remember.
I will die in Paris—and I don't step aside—
perhaps on a Thursday, as today is Thursday, in autumn.

   It will be a Thursday, because today, Thursday, setting down
these lines, I have put my upper arm bones on 
wrong, and never so much as today have I found myself
with all the road ahead of me, alone.

   César Vallejo is dead.  Everyone beat him
although he never does anything to them;
they beat him hard with a stick and hard also

   with a rope.  These are the witnesses:
the Thursdays, and the bones of my arms,
the solitude, and the rain, and the roads. . .

More by César Vallejo

To My Brother Miguel in memoriam

Brother, today I sit on the brick bench outside the house, 
where you make a bottomless emptiness.
I remember we used to play at this hour of the day, and mama 
would calm us: "There now, boys..."
Now I go hide
as before, from all these evening 
prayers, and I hope that you will not find me. 
In the parlor, the entrance hall, the corridors. 
Later, you hide, and I do not find you. 
I remember we made each other cry, 
brother, in that game.

Miguel, you hid yourself
one night in August, nearly at daybreak,
but instead of laughing when you hid, you were sad. 
And your other heart of those dead afternoons
is tired of looking and not finding you.  And now
shadows fall on the soul.

Listen, brother, don't be too late
coming out. All right? Mama might worry.


     This afternoon it is raining, as never before; and I 
have no desire to live, my heart. 

     This afternoon is sweet. Why should it not be? 
Dressed in grace and pain; dressed like a woman. 

     This afternoon in Lima it is raining. And I recall 
the cruel caverns of my ingratitude; 
my block of ice over her poppy, 
stronger than her "Don't be this way!"

     My violent black flowers; and the barbaric  
and terrible stoning; and the glacial distance. 
And the silence of her dignity 
with burning holy oils will put all end to it. 

     So this afternoon, as never before, I am 
with this owl, with this heart. 

     Other women go by; and seeing me so sad, 
they take on a bit of you 
in the abrupt wrinkle of my deep remorse. 

     This afternoon it is raining, raining hard. And I
have no desire to live, my heart!

Weary Rings

     There are desires to return, to love, to not disappear, 
and there are desires to die, fought by two 
opposing waters that have never isthmused.
     There are desires for a great kiss that would shroud Life,
one that ends in the Africa of a fiery agony, 
a suicide! 

     There are desires to. . .have no desires, Lord; 
I point my deicidal finger at you: 
there are desires to not have had a heart. 

     Spring returns, returns and will depart. And God, 
bent in time, repeats himself, and passes, passes 
with the spinal column of the Universe on his back. 

     When my temples beat their lugubrious drum, 
when the dream engraved on a dagger aches me, 
there are desires to be left standing in this verse!