El agua en la noche / César Moro

Water in the Night


Infallible butterfly
Nocturnal light
A favorable exit for my insomnia
Honey of the day’s sour urn
Voluble and extinct oven
Dead under the sun
Shadow’s blemish
On the wall
Night’s crevice
With no star
You come to my home
Familiar ghost of silence
To open the new cycle
In the hard solitary kingdom


I travel through marvelous storms
Proud of sinking into desperation
Since you smile while you crush my heart
I see the flame of your eyes
They shine elsewhere
The prodigious earth of stars
You laugh from your same laugh
From your strength surrounded by caresses
Overflowing with serious love


To be or not to be
The glacial bitterness embellished in gold
The peal of a teardrop in full sunlight

Atrocious pain in lucidity
The fixed idea the fixed object
Shadow ivy mirror echo

To be man’s nocturnal aspect at the edge of old age
Maturity iridescent rotten
What doesn’t provide full rights
To health quaffed in a single drink in the cloudy materialist glass
To not be abandonment
Nor the metaphysical waiting thought’s colossal winter
To not be the one who arrives

To be stone blindness deafness
The cold of the abandoned place
Doors open to night

Footsteps disappear
Rain falls
One by one the stars close their immortal eyes
To the world’s night


Having to write to you until the end of my life
To illustrate the dead weight of days
I will live without you
Inebriated by the secret vibration
Irradiating in nature the sickly East of a black pearl
I depart ceaselessly at each pulse of blood to become a part of you
Memory’s fire grinding a life
The caress of slowness over the impending separation
I love you
Atrocious insomnia night made of lead
Of what dream heavier than distance
Should I demand an unfolding?

Illumination in the flight of your eyelids
Living fountain where I am amazed by the blessing
Flapping the pure air
Your obelisk shadow
And You at the end of the glass road

I would follow you in the storm
Until reaching breath

Translator’s note: Originally written in French. Translated from the Spanish version by Ricardo Silva Santisteban, published in Antología de la poesía hispanoamericana actual, ed. Julio Ortega, México DF: Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 2002.

{ César Moro | Peru, 1903-1956 }


Steven Fama said...


Although I do not know you, please permit me to thank you for these translations. There is so little Moro available in English. Your translations here are wonderful to read. I can only hope that someday all sections of the poem might be translated into English.

Guillermo Parra said...

Hi Steven,

Everything I've read by Moro is amazing. What a magnificent poet. I just wish the anthology I took this from had the complete version of this poem. I only own one of his books and that's an edition of a few letters he wrote to Emilio Adolfo Westphalen from Mexico City, with only one poem in it.

The anthology I took this from has several other poems by Moro that I intend to translate for my blog over the next week or so. Thanks for reading.