El cruzado / José Antonio Ramos Sucre

The Crusader

     The trees, of naked column, spread their vigorous branches upwards, repair for the front of the castle.
     From the turrets hangs a parasitic shrub, with thin leaves. Corpulent birds climb on them, with ironic gargoyle faces.
     From my high window I watch at my feet the ondulation of the forest and, in an angle of the horizon, the spasmodic flash of the lightning.
     The days of military service have long passed. I defended remote sinking kingdoms against the Muslim. We were executing and suffering a war of surveillance and open fields, perpetual and merciless. One night of consternation I left my brother in arms, between birds of prey and lying on a precipice. The moon was peeking through a brusque opening in the clouds.
     A piece of inner advice reclaimed me to this home, once peace was convened. I knocked down holm oaks and oak trees to seal off, behind me, the trails and lanes of the jungle. I picked, for my chambers, the hall for hunting trophies, where a nebulous mirror stands out.
     Boredom and monotony strengthen my natural bitterness fleetingly relieved by the interlude of mundane commotion.
     I felt a fainting of the will, a supernatural rapture, the effect of an unknown presence. I lost track of time and its passing.
     Once one of my happiest comrades wanted to see me, and he was able to by guessing the paths and climbing over the impediments placed in the road.
     Disillusioned ambition had made him repose, conferring authority upon his discourse. He had penetrated the secrets of wisdom.
     He referred me to the traditions of my house, the abuses of my ancestors and their bitter end. My early orphanhood, my crusader’s deeds had been enough to rescue me from fate. I had to put an end to my race, passing on to a better life without descendants.
     By his command I approached the nebulous mirror, momentarily brightened.
     And there I looked, astonished, upon my old man’s face.

La torre de Timón (1925)

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

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