El jardinero de las espinas / José Antonio Ramos Sucre

The Gardener of Thorns

     A bronze reliquary guarded, for more than a thousand years, the spoils of a Christian virgin thrown to the Tiber. I had reconstituted a few episodes from her journey in this world by means of short, linear news items from a devoted chronicle.

     The church of her rest dominated a deserted way. The relics of the gardens and palaces declared the magnanimous effort of the ancients. I visited the spot in the middle of November, beneath an opal sky, naked and chilled. I stopped at the foot of a tree with unconquered leaves and persuaded them to tranquility by reciting a few augural verses by Virgil.

     At that moment I divined one of the prodigies attributed to the martyred virgin. Her illusory image had consoled the days of a middle-aged exile, a sick man tossed far from mankind, impeded in his fern dwelling, and had placed in his hands the harp of Israfel. A Jew of immortal life had revealed to me the name of the first musician in the cortege of angels.

     I reestablished myself from a delirious affect assuming a contemplative attitude, struggling to draw the ideal figure of the saint. I was deliberately lost in the solitude of a few burnished mountains and abandoned myself on a trail of stones. A swallow was deserting from its own in the month of the shades of Lent and created in front of me, getting tangled in my hair, the view of the deserted way and of the reliquary church in pontifical Rome.

El cielo de esmalte (1929)

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

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