Ofir / José Antonio Ramos Sucre


The squall had separated us from our course, throwing us offshore. We were starting to penetrate in the unfathomable night of the ocean.
     We were hearing the groan of some birds lost in the immensity and I recalled the episode of a gentile fable, in which the hero listens to squawks while crossing an infernal lagoon. The sailors, mute with fright, held to the current’s impetus by rowing and emerged onto a bank of palm trees.
     I saw, in that zone of the sky, the figures of the constellations animate themselves and I looked at the stretching of the scorpion, author of the fall of Phaëton.
     We disembarked at the mouth of a river and headed inland following its shores of damp grass. The natives signified hospitality for us, offering water in some lightweight gourds.
     We climbed a plateau to rest and noticed the drawing of a city amid the transparent atmosphere. We were comparing it to the image painted by light in the heart of a mirror.
     The king, ensconced in a palanquin, was venturing out to roam the countryside, followed by an escort mounted on ostriches. He possessed a wise man’s name and was entertaining himself proposing riddles for the visitors to his kingdom.
     Some birds, with plumage arrayed in the form of a lyre, were descending to earth with a majestic flight. They were emitting from their chest the deep sound of a harp.
     I reflected in front of the sovereign on nature’s enigmas and censured and accused as impostors the irritating men who insist on upholding the existence of the antipodes.
     The king thanked me for my dissertation and took me with him, in his habitual company. He regaled me that same night with a music of gongs and hammer dulcimers, in which the culminating sound of the sistrum would explode, from time to time.
     I left the next day on an elephant, a gift from the king, to contemplate the sunset, the country’s greatest wonder, reason for my journey.
     The sun was sinking at a short distance, lighting the mythological palaces of the sea.

Las formas del fuego (1929)

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

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