Los ortodoxos / José Antonio Ramos Sucre

The Orthodox

     I was traversing the grave country at the request of the decadent monastery. I remember the pause and the monotonous humming of my ox cart on the pebbled road and how it overturned in the muddy river. The natives were dying from eating the fish from its paralytic current.

     A few black birds, of petulant baldness, were frolicking in the incisive grass and on the backs of some lean horses. Their flight was repeating, in the violent blue, the strict order of the phalanx.

     The reverse of the times was plunging the villages into misery, advising indolence, the abhorrence of life. An impassive woman, with arid eyes, was presiding her children’s game in the grounds of a cemetery obstructed by the thicket. The suit of noble antiquity and the domestic distaff were seconding the ascendancy of her face.

     The abbot was waiting for me before the building, at the foot of a withered walnut tree. His voluble discourse retracted me from asking for a place in the lodging for pilgrims. He was lamenting the egoism and parsimony of the parishioners.

     I gathered, during the visit, frequent motives for suspicion and deviation. A few monks were drawing sickly images, following the custom of a fanatical art, and the most uncivil of them would repair to the authority of Saint Basil, for the purpose of recommending filth, as a sign of penitence.

El cielo de esmalte (1929)

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

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