translated from the Spanish by Yvette Siegert

My father is sleeping. His noble features
reflect a gentle heart.
How sweet he is;
if anything in him is bitter, it must be me.

There is solitude at home, and prayer,
and there isn’t any news of the children today.
My father wakes up. He considers
the flight into Egypt, the bitter goodbye.
How near he is;
if anything in him is distant, it must be me.

And my mother, who moves through
the orchard, tasting a taste grown tasteless:
how soft she is,
how very wing, how departure, how love.

There is solitude at home, no sound,
no news, no green, no childhood.
And if anything this afternoon is broken,
and is going down and creaking,
it’s two old lanes white and curving,
and my heart is walking along them now.



Los pasos lejanos


Mi padre duerme. Su semblante augusto
figura un apacible corazón;
está ahora tan dulce. . . 
si hay algo en él de amargo, seré yo.

Hay soledad en el hogar; se reza;
y no hay noticias de los hijos hoy.
Mi padre se despierta, ausculta
la huída a Egipto, el restañante adiós.
Está ahora tan cerca;
si hay algo en él de lejos, seré yo.

Y mi madre pasea allá en los huertos,
saboreando un sabor ya sin sabor.
Está ahora tan suave,
tan ala, tan salida, tan amor.

Hay soledad en el hogar sin bulla,
sin noticias, sin verde, sin niñez.
Y si hay algo quebrado en esta tarde,
y que baja y que cruje,
son dos viejos caminos blancos, curvos.
Por ellos va mi corazón a pie.

From Los heraldos negros (Editorial Losada, S. A., 1918) by César Vallejo. Translated from the Spanish by Yvette Siegert. This poem is in the public domain.