It is Night, in My Study
It is night, in my study. The deepest solitude; I hear the steady shudder in my breast —for it feels all alone, and blanched by my mind— and I hear my blood with even murmur fill up the silence. You might say the thin stream falls in the waterclock and fills the bottom. Here, in the night, all alone, this is my study; the books don't speak; my oil lamp bathes these pages in a light of peace, light of a chapel. The books don't speak; of the poets, the meditators, the learned, the spirits drowse; and it is as if around me circled cautious death. I turn at times to see if it waits, I search the dark, I try to discern among the shadows its thin shadow, I think of heart failure, think about my strong age; since my fortieth year two more have passed. Toward a looming temptation here, in the solitude, the silence turns me— the silence and the shadows. And I tell myself: "Perhaps when soon they come to tell me that supper awaits, they will discover a body here pallid and cold —the thing that I was, this one who waits— just like those books quiet and rigid, the blood already stopped, jelling in the veins, the chest silent under the gentle light of the soothing oil, a funeral lamp. I tremble to end these lines that they do not seem an unusual testament, but rather a mysterious message from the shade beyond, lines dictated by the anxiety of eternal life. I finished them and yet I live on.
From Roots and Wings: Poetry from Spain 1900-1975, translated by William Stafford and Lillian Jean Stafford, edited by Hardie St. Martin, and published by Harper & Row. © 1976 by Hardie St. Martin. Used with permission. All rights reserved.