Cansancio / José Antonio Ramos Sucre


     Gratitude more than love is what I feel toward that adolescent who every afternoon, as I walk by her window, rewards my entire day’s overwhelming work with a smile. Her innocence has not been scared off by my sadness that transcends and is contagious; to calm my desperation, she responds to my gallantry with a timid silence, while wrapping herself in the most persistent of her sleepy glances, attenuating my own pain and what I’ve just picked up while passing through the slums of misery and vice.

     Love is impossible when the future has fallen to the ground, and the illness of living intensifies like a sad and frozen rain. Only gratitude for the adolescent who protects me against disgrace for the rest of the day, following me with her eyes until I disappear amid the passersby on the interminable street. Gratitude as well for nature that at this time of year wears funereal attire, making me understand I’m not alone, that everything alive suffers, and everything lives.

     Only she appears eluding the fatality of pain; the unconscious venture of childhood is prolonged over her youth; no sorrow has paralyzed the happy madness of her laughter, which belongs to her earliest years, though no freshness is as appalling in the hands of time as that manifestation of delight. One could say nature can’t resist her grace and lets itself be vanquished; when the solar light proclaims its victory, the night triumphs in her eyes, more luminous the denser it grows, like some tropical seas more phosphorescent the darker they are.

     With her tranquil joy the affliction that traces furrows in my forehead and crushes my life does not come to pass. I would poison her innocence were I to initiate her in the urge to battle without respite, if in exchange for her compassion I made her understand how the anguish for murdered ambition asphyxiates. I will not aid against her well-being the hidden disgrace in every approaching moment that draws near like a wave swelling its roaring bosom. It is cruel to bring her forward in a few days to the disappointments that don’t postpone their arrival and the fierce thoughts that cling to sad foreheads in a mournful round.

     With compassion I correspond her own, if from her quietude I move away with the sterile fear of life, fleeing from the smile that binds. Love is not worth more than this soft memory, that I will conserve from her apparition in the moments of my coarsest living. Plunging in time, her figure awakens tranquil affections, that are suitable for tired spirits; and now my own has only strength for that melancholic sympathy with which the traveler in repose contemplates the distant palm, lit up in the sun’s last goodbye, only companion throughout vast solitude.

La torre de Timón (1925)

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

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