El cautivo de una sombra / José Antonio Ramos Sucre

The Captive of a Shade

I would not attempt to leave the city, of infertile surroundings, submerged in the coastal sand. I was suffering, in the manner of my compatriots, the sorrow of decadence. I would help them with my admonitions and with the example of an arrogant poverty.
     I hurried to welcome them at the foot of the stairs to my ancient house, when they returned from losing an unequal combat. I consoled them in the name of my ancestors.
     The setbacks diverted me from reality and persuaded me toward disdain. I lived absorbed in the contemplation of the empty port. The vessels would avoid the indigent country.
     A maiden of my affection, destined to accompany me, did not survive the evaporation of my dreams. The red hair and white countenance were in harmony with the violaceous afternoon, hour of our appointment. She turned up, the last time, with a branch of oleanders and with a mirror in the form of a moon, symbol Diana’s fierce chastity.
     I endure the retreat with my head sunken in my hands and without exhaling a voice. Misfortune roots me once again in the soil of my birth. After her death, a suspicious figure divines the meaning of my steps.
     I have lit a lantern over her grave, at the foot of a rough mountain, and it is visited by the birds of rain and stagnant water.

El cielo de esmalte (1929)

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

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