POETRY: Four Poems by César Vallejo

Four Poems César Vallejo


Anger which breaks a man into children,
Which breaks the child into two equal birds,
And after that the bird into a pair of little eggs:
The poor man’s anger
Has one oil against two vinegars.

Anger which breaks a tree into leaves
And the leaf into unequal buds
And the bud into telescopic grooves;
The poor man’s anger
Has two rivers against many seas.

Anger which breaks good into doubts
And doubt into three similar arcs
And then the arc into unexpected tombs;
The poor man’s anger
Has one steel against two daggers.

Anger which breaks the soul into bodies
And the body into dissimilar organs
And the organ into octave thoughts;
The poor man’s anger
Has one central fire against two craters.

Black Stone on Top of a White Stone

I shall die in Paris, in a rainstorm,
On a day I already remember.
I shall die in Paris–it does not bother me–
Doubtless on a Thursday, like today, in autumn.

It shall be a Thursday, because today, Thursday
As I put down these lines, I have set my shoulders
To the evil. Never like today have I turned
And headed my whole journey to the ways where I am alone.

César Vallejo is dead. They struck him,
All of them, though he did nothing to them.
They hit him hard with a stick and hard also
With the end of a rope. Witnesses are: the Thursdays,
The shoulder bones, the loneliness, the rain and the roads. . . .


Fair queenly one!  Your veins are the ferment
of my ancient nonbeing and of the black
champagne of my life!

Your hair is the undiscovered rootlet
of the tree of my vine.
Your hair is the strand from a miter
of fantasy that I lost!

Your body is the bubbly skirmish
of a pink Jordan;
and it ripples, like a beatific whip
that would have put the viper of evil to shame!

Your arms create a thirst for the infinite
with their chaste Hesperides of light,
like two white redeeming roads,
two dying wrenchings of a cross.
And they are molded in the unconquered blood
of my impossible blue!

Your feet are two heraldic larks
eternally arriving from my yesterday!
Fair queenly one! Your feet are the two tears
I choked back, descending from the Spirit
one Palm Sunday when I entered the World,
already forever distant from Bethlehem!

The Peace, The Wasp. . .

The peace, the wasp, the bung, the hillsides,
The dead man, the ten liter bottles, the owl,
Places, the spider, the tombs, the tumbler, the dark women,
Unknowing, the kettle, the acolyte,
Drops, forgetfulness,
Power, the cousins, the archangel, the needle,
The parish priests, ebony, lack of skill,
The part, the type, the stupor, the soul. . . .

Easy to handle, covered with saffron, everlasting, spotless,
Easy to carry, old, thirteen, covered with blood,
They have been photographed, made ready, they have swollen up,
Joined together, broad, they have put on ribbons, they are perfidious. . . .

Burning, comparing,
Living, flying in a rage,
Striking, analyzing, listening, meddling,
Dying, bearing up, getting themselves a place, weeping. . . .

After, these here,
After, up above,
Perhaps, while behind, so much, so never,
Below, maybe, far,
Always, that one, tomorrow, how much,
How much. . .!

The horrible, the sumptuary, the very slow,
The portly, the fruitless,
The ill-fated, causing us to twitch, the wet, the fatal,
The all, the most-pure, the gloomy,
The bitter, the satanic, the tactile, the profound. . . .

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