Carta de amor / César Moro

Love Letter

I think of the holothurians who would often surround
     us when dawn drew near
when your feet warmer then nests
burned in the night
with a blue and sparkling light

I think of your body that made the bed a sky and the
     supreme mountains
of the only reality
with its valleys and its shadows
with humidity and marble and the black water reflecting
     all the stars
in each eye

Wasn’t your smile the resonant forest of my childhood
weren’t you the spring
the stone chosen centuries ago to recline my head?
I think your face
immobile hot coal point of departure for the Milky Way
and that immense sorrow that makes me crazier than a
     flaming agitated spider over the sea

Impossible when I remember you the human voice is odious
always the vegetable rumor of your words isolates me in
     total night
where you shine with blackness more black than night
Every idea of blackness is too weak to express the long
     ululation of black on black fervently

I will never forget
But who speaks of oblivion
in the prison to which your absence leaves me
in the solitude to which this poem abandons me
in the exile where each hour finds me

I will no longer wake up
I will no longer resist the assault of the big waves
that come from the blessed landscape you inhabit
Outside under the nocturnal cold I wander
over that plank placed so high above and from where
     one falls suddenly

Stiff beneath the terror of successive dreams agitated
     in the wind
of years of reverie
warned of what ends up finding itself dead
in the threshold of deserted castles
at the time and place agreed upon but unfindable
in the fertile plains of paroxysm
and of the only objective
I place all my dexterity toward deciphering
that adored name
following its hallucinatory transformations
A sword cuts right through a beast already
or it’s a dove that falls bloody at my feet
turned into coral stone a support for the waste
of carnivorous birds

A repeated scream in each empty theater at the hour
     of the indescribable
A thread of water dancing before the red velvet
before the flames of the footlights

Disappeared the benches of the orchestra
I accumulate treasures of dead wood and vivid
     leaves of corrosive silver
No longer content with cheering by howling
a thousand mummified families make a squirrel’s
     step ignoble

Beloved decoration where I would see a fine rain
     balance itself in a quick race towards the ermine
of a fur jacket abandoned in the heat of a dawn fire
that was trying to get a king to hear its complaints
thus I slide the window wide open over empty clouds
demanding that the darkness inundate my face
that it erase the indelible ink
of the horror of sleep
across patios abandoned to the pale maniacal vegetation

In vain I ask fire for thirst
in vain I wound the walls
in the distance oblivion’s precarious curtains fall
facing the landscape that twists the tempest

[Mexico City, December of 1942]

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

{ César Moro | Peru, 1903-1956 }

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