La vida, aún / Guillermo Sucre

Life, Still

Where’d the happiness of living go?
The unscrupulous slowness in conversation
and the clear glance of pride,
the glimmer of character and fate,
the hand that knew how to prohibit and consecrate,
the bodies that thanked the soul
and agile like vines wrapped
in nights of pleasure and also
pain; everything that was ceremony,
frugal or generous celebration, where is it
now, under what tinsel
and hate and opprobrium is it lying? Are there beings
who still live in the climate’s friendship,
breathe the earth’s vapor
at sunrise, who bathe in the sea
like a purification? Is beauty
still beautiful, does her face light up
on ill-fated days and do we love it
with patience?

                 Or have we only been
rancorous blood, patient only
for malice and insults?
Did we ever really know passion,
the suffering of its long wound?
Or was there only enough soul
for astuteness, threatened
honor, devoted vanity? Were we
once fair without enduring
mockery? And meanwhile there
was the desperate ridicule
amidst the misery, and did we have
no pity, no reverence? And meanwhile,
because of everything it takes to be
a man, were we merely Venezuelan

                 Or was life simply
fallacious, and venal. The only one who didn’t know
how to be austere, she didn’t retire on time,
she didn’t even have time to get
life insurance. A prostitute
for everyone: she was too beautiful
and only wanted to give pleasure,
or its illusion. Deep down, she never
thought she’d die. Now she seeks
refuge in memory, wanders
through desolate gardens thinking
she’s deciphering in the rose or jasmine she loved
the intimate, naked gleam
that lit her for the world. She is filling up
with ruins in the house covered
in vines. She realizes she no longer
matters, and cleans her masks.
Now she’s learning how to live her only
face: her secret agony.

La segunda versión (1994)

{ Guillermo Sucre, Conversación con la intemperie. Seis poetas venezolanos, selección y prólogo de Gustavo Guerrero, Barcelona, España: Galaxia Gutenberg/Círculo de Lectores, 2008 }

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