El clima del nopal / José Antonio Ramos Sucre

The Climate of the Nopal

     The hermit narrates the events and incorporates himself to the army of lacerated and hopeless characters. He confesses himself the author of at least one rapture and suggests, by means of a living elocution, the fright of running away at full speed, within reach of the stones and bullets.

     He pretends to be dedicated to the memory of Mercedes, who would constantly censure his youth and the author, once she died, of his retreat from the century and of his repentance and humility.

     He describes the farm where she passed from this life and was left on her back, without help or company. A gust from the north would break the big windows at each step, dispersed the perfume of the incense and extinguished, in front of the ivory crucifix, a candle with faded light.

     He goes on to celebrate his irrevocable purpose of living as a penitent, from that moment forth, in the hole of the mountain, amidst a scanty and ashen weeds.

     The hermit concludes his discourse and surprises me by mentioning his companions and the reproach of his lateness. He convenes them by means of a copper whistle.

     I saw myself threatened, in a limited space, by a wheel of aimed rifles. I couldn’t raise my voice amid the uproar of the knaves.

     The captain persuaded them to respect my life and he took me out safely along cliffside roads, without abandoning the monk’s habit, and appropriating all my money and the promise to sail the return to my homeland.

     He was shooting his gun against some birds of prey gathered, above me, in a furious scramble.

Las formas del fuego (1929)

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

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