To the Country
translated from the Spanish by Charles B. McMichael
Prairie land, Happy days. In Royal Buenos Ayres
Now far, far behind are left the fire, and terrific heat.
Today in thy verdant exultation all my day dreams will come to life
And I shall inhale thy fragrant breath and bathe me in thy sun.
A very good morning to thee, my orchard, and now I salute thy freshness
As it bursts forth from thy branches, while thy peach trees are in bloom;
Framed about with rose bushes thy Florida Street
Looks on while Glory, the Mart and Sport pass along.
A little bird, a poet, meditates verses in his craw;
Gossipy and petulant, a sparrow goes chattering;
The climbing plants are arguing about political affairs;
The roses and the lilies talk of art and also of love.
Driving his chariot team of fairy dragon flies,
The mischief making Puck of rich dreams passes
And here is the splendid sportswoman in her celestial car,
The Imperial Titania followed by Oberon,
At night when the half ring of gold shows itself
Beneath the tranquil blue of Heaven, the loved one of Pierrot,
(It is a pallid feast which reigns now in the orchard)
Plays upon her lyre the air, forsooth, do-re-mi-fa-sol.
The curious violets into her balcony are peeping
And one of them sighs, “Tis a pity that the nightingale is not here!”
The sylphs accompany the dances of the breezes
In a vague hazy Walpurgis of perfume and fantasy.
Soon is heard the echo of the loud cry of the pampas.
It burns like the setting of the Argentine sun
And a spectral horseman like a shadow crosses,
Over his shoulder is a poncho, upon his face is grief.
Who are you solitary traveler of the night?
“I am Poetry” who once upon a time reigned here
I am the last gaucho herdsman. I am going away forever
From our ancient country and carrying away its heart.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on September 13, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.