Cambridge Book Review



I STAYED ON TO HEAT THE INK / César Vallejo

I stayed on to heat the ink in which I am drowning
and to listen to my alternative cavern,
nights of touch, days of abstraction.

The unknown trembled in my tonsil,
and I rustled from an annual melancholy,
nights of sun, days of moon, sunsets of Paris.

And still, on this very day, as it gets dark,
I digest sacred certainties,
nights of mother, days of great-granddaughter,
bicolored, voluptuous, urgent, pretty.

And yet
I reach, I arrive at myself in an airplane with two seats,
beneath the domestic morning and the mist
that emerged eternally from an instant.

And still,
even now,
at the end of the comet in which I have earned
my happy and doctoral bacillus,
here it is that heated, listening, earthlike, sun and moonlike,
I travel incognito through the cemetery,
turn to the left, splitting
the grass with a pair of hendecasyllables,
years of tomb, liters of infinity,
ink, pen, bricks and pardons.


24 September 1937


Translation © 1997 Mary Sarko



CBR Home | Reviews | Excerpts & Features | Guidelines | CBR Press