La ilusión / José Antonio Ramos Sucre

The Illusion

     I decided to overcome the resistance of that dissident official and impose on him my manner and conversation. He would often incur in a sudden and puerile rage. He had refused, under the steel of surgeons, the relief of anesthetics. He professed a religion of parsimony and pain.

     We struggled day and night with the sinuous Japanese man. We Russians continued on the field and kept up the battle, preventing its conversion into defeat. An icon, of Byzantine mold and emphatic and bothersome rigidity, animated the sacrifice of the stricken heroes.

     I solicited the company of the mad official during a repose from the fight, applied to the suppression of the dead. We admired the virtue of fire in dissipating the human remains. He came to mention, after a long circumlocution, his indifference to danger and his condemnation of life’s favors.

     I knew the bizarre motive of his originality. He had visited, in the fulfillment of a mission, the zone of the Caucasus and saluted the peaks and canyons with the impetuous canticle of Lermontov. Amid the sculptural race he distinguished a young woman reclining on a deer and sheltered beneath an ostrich feather parasol. That woman, dressed in a royal suit, was singing the night of that same day, from her illuminated balcony. She closed the blinds from a Chinese junk when she felt a frequent glance upon herself.

     The official would always stop at that moment in his tale and remain in suspense and with an empty stare, lost in the rumors of the cheerful Tiflis night.

     I abstained from censuring the incoherent signs of his image. The soldier had registered, living in the secret, the most disparate civilizations and would join in a single memory the attire of a Lydian princess and the attitude of Diane de Poitiers sure of her invulnerable youth in a fascinating portrait.

Las formas del fuego (1929)

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

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