Duelo de arrabal / José Antonio Ramos Sucre

Slum Sorrow

     In the poor home with a naked floor, lit by a miserable lamp, the women congregated to cry. Alternately strong or extenuated, their tremulous sobs never ceased, drowned and confused words were escaping from their shaking chests, gestures of pain were pleading to mute skies. Around a small coffin the clamor was growing and reaching delirium; it contained the body of a child struck down by death from slum life. In a corner the recently abandoned toys were gathered in a bundle, beside the poor tools of feminine industry, and, in an ironic offering at the feet of the Crucifix, the drugs on the uncovered table. Noble sacrifices failed in protecting his life: the consumption of miserable savings, the days of anxiety, the nights of vigil. That day, when darkness prospered even in the deep twilight of the bleeding sun, death came to protect the minor and benign shadows, sealing its victory with cold paleness.
     What came to that mansion, as to many others, was a tremendous evil, like the one that by divine order decimates Egypt’s first born, it barely left a poor house without mourning. By its influx innumerable children received the bosom of the earth as a crib, sent off by moaning choruses, lamented with brief and clamorous wailing, the wailing of those who in a life without peace have worse enemies than death.
     Following the general destiny of the sad who, with urgent poverty, don’t know the delight of the tearful memory, the mourners from the poor home, lit by a miserable lamp, also lamented with passing desperation. The hoarse voices moaned until the departure of the little cadaver; but forgetfulness, before the expected urge of the next day, made an invasion with the calm of the first august and flushed night.

La torre de Timón (1925)

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

No comments: