El alivio / José Antonio Ramos Sucre


I had grown up under the charge of my older brother.
     I never left my house to have fun with the boys my age in the neighboring plaza.
     The neighborhood windows would remain shut and no maiden would appear to watch the silent park. The branches of the centenary trees would reach the ground, relaxed by the water. I would remember, on a day of nostalgia, the fluvial willows where the sons of Zion would hang the psaltery.
     The boys would get sick from rushing and scattering through the infected weeds. Their voices would barely circulate in the clumsy air.
     I knew nothing about my family’s traditions and how it had been extinguished in my unfortunate house. I was left plunged in uncertainty after the death of my brother. He lived in a sullen and taciturn manner, lost in the vice of alcohol, and he never allowed himself any effusion with me. He would dress in frayed black cloth. He was, simultaneously, somber and kind.
     He came in from the street and locked himself, to die, in the room where he tended to reserve himself. He left me a piece of paper on top of an invalid piano.
     I conceived an intimate and relentless pain and I would spend hours on end at night deciphering his incoherent expression by the glow of a street light in the plaza, circled by a halo of humidity.
     The effort of trying to pierce his thought and the memory of his generosity eventually drained me and animated the desire to follow him.
     I felt, for the first time, the affection for life when the pulverulent letter dissolved in my hands.

Las formas del fuego (1929)

{ José Antonio Ramos Sucre, Obra completa, Caracas: Biblioteca Ayacucho, 1989 }


Zaina Anwar said...

I have written here before. I write again to thank you for introducing me to the captivating words and stories of Sucre. I am addicted to his works or maybe, your amazing translations hold my mind captive :)

Guillermo Parra said...

He's quite amazing, isn't he? You might enjoy these photos I took recently in Cumaná, where he was born and is buried: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=201834&id=655630955&l=d64c5310e3