Bajo la ráfaga de arena / José Antonio Ramos Sucre

Under the Gust of Sand

     A throng of ants had practiced its galleries in the floor of our campaign tent. They would insinuate a caustic saliva in the veins. We defended ourselves by suffering a glaze of palm oil.

     The aridity barely allowed the sycamore and the aloe.

     We were profoundly visiting the deserts of an unhappy race to supply ourselves with ivory and perfumed tree bark. We hoped to increase all at once the treasures of commerce and the medicinal resources. The jewels of the flora would have to be used in mitigation of human sorrows.

     The natives had divided into factions and were consuming themselves in an endless war. The victor was hauling prisoners far away, where they could not desert, and selling them into slavery. A single cord joined them by the neck. Fright dominated the villages reduced to ashes.

     A few blind men had been diverted from death or captivity. We picked them up to take them to an inhabited and fertile place, where they might live off compassion. We navigated by tow-line, along a dry river, for a week.

     We announced ourselves by means of rockets when we spotted the neighborhood of straw houses, where we hoped to lodge the destitute. The straw houses, of a circular drawing, prolonged themselves in subterranean lodgings.

     A minister of the king came to ask us the object of our journey. I urged him to mediate in courtesy of my civilizing interest.

     The king called me to his presence and gave me an abundance of resins, of balms and leaves. I took advantage of the interview to awaken his mercy, referring to the case of the blind men.

     He was extremely amused by knowing this and decided to show me the precise merits of his gift. He essayed the effect of the narcotic leaves with the unfortunate ones and they died amidst an enchantment.

El cielo de esmalte (1929)

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

No comments: