César Vallejo


Winter at the Battle of Teruel

Water falls from washed revolvers!
Just so,
the metallic grace of the water
in the nocturnal evening of Aragón,
despite the constructed grasses,
the burning vegetables, the industrial plants.

Just so,
the serene branch of chemistry,
the branch of explosives in a hair,
the branch of automobiles in frequencies and goodbyes.
So man responds, so, to death;
so he looks straight ahead and listens to the side;
so water, unlike blood, is made of water;
so fire, contrary to ash, strokes its numbed ruminants.

Who goes there, under the snow? Are they killing? No.
Just so,
life goes by, switching its tail, with its second rope.

And the war is hideous, sets you on edge,
makes you weary, wide-eyed;
the war causes tombs, causes falling,
causes the strange leaping of the arthropoid!
You smell it, comrade, perfectly,
when you pound
your arm distractedly between corpses;
you see it, for you touch your testicles, turning very red;
you hear it in your mouth of a natural soldier.

Let's go then, comrade;
your alerted shadow waits for us,
your quartered shadow waits for us,
noonday captain, nighttime private ...
And so, on describing this agony to myself,
I draw back from myself, shouting loudly:
Down with my corpse! ... and sob.



Funeral Drum Roll for the Rubble of Durango

Father dust, which riseth from Spain,
God save thee, free thee, crown thee,
father dust ascending from our soul.

Father dust, which riseth from the fire,
God save thee, shod thee, throne thee,
father dust, which art in the heavens.

Father dust, great-grandson of the smoke,
God save thee, raise thee to the infinite,
father dust, great-grandson of the smoke.

Father dust, in which the just end,
God save thee and return thee to the earth,
father dust, in which the just end.

Father dust, which groweth in palms,
God save thee and gird thee with courage,
father dust, terror of nothingness.

Father dust, which art made of iron,
God save thee and give thee man's form,
father dust, which marcheth burning.

Father dust, sandal of the outcast,
God save thee and never untie thee,
father dust, sandal of the outcast.

Father dust, which the barbarians scatter,
God save thee and gird thee with gods,
father dust, which the atoms escort.

Father dust, shroud of the people,
God save thee from evil for aye,
Spanish father dust, our father!

Father dust, which goeth to the future,
God save thee, guide thee, give thee wings,
father dust, which goeth to the future.



Little Prayer for a Hero of the Republic

A book remained at the edge of his dead waist,
a book was sprouting from his dead corpse.
The hero was carried away,
and his mouth, tangible, ill-fated, entered our breath;
we all sweated, his navel on our shoulders;
the wayfaring moons trailed us;
the dead man sweated too with sadness.

And a book, in the battle of Toledo,
a book, behind a book, above a book, was sprouting from the corpse.

Poetry of the purple cheekbone, between speaking and hushing,
poetry in the moral letter that will enclose his heart.
The book remained and nothing more,
for there are no insects in the grave,
and at the edge of his sleeve the air remained, steeping,
becoming gaseous, infinite.

We all sweated, his navel on our shoulders;
the dead man sweated too with sadness;
and a book -- I saw it and was touched --
a book, behind a book, above a book,
sprouted from the corpse, violent.



[Some days the air  ... ]

Some days the air, comrades...
many days the wind changes its air,
the terrain, its edge,
the Republican rifle, its level.
Some days Spain is Spanish.

Some days evil
mobilizes its orbits, holds back,
paralyzes its eyes listening to them.
Some days, praying with naked sweat,
the militiamen hang onto the man.
Some days the world, comrades,
the world stands Spanish to the death.

Some days the shooting has died here,
and the body has died in the role of spirit,
and the soul is already our soul, comrades.
Some days the sky,
this one, the day sky, with the enormous paw ...

Some days, Gijón;
many days, Gijón;
long time, Gijón;
much land, Gijón;
much man, Gijón;
and much god, Gijón,
very many Spains, aí!, Gijón.

some days the wind changes its air.



[I watched the corpse ... ]

I watched the corpse, his swift order evident
and the very slow disorder of his soul;
I saw him surviving; in his mouth
was the broken age of two mouths.
They shouted his number: fragments.
They shouted his love: no use!
They shouted his bullet: also dead!

And his digestive order maintained itself
and, behind it, the disorder of his soul: in vain.
They left him and listened; it was then
that the corpse
almost lived, secretly, for an instant;
but they stethoscoped mentally, and ... dates!



[Beware, Spain  ... ]

Beware, Spain, of your own Spain!
Beware the sickle without the hammer!
Beware the hammer without the sickle!
Beware the victim despite himself,
the executioner despite himself,
and the neutral despite himself!
Beware of he who before the cock crows
will deny you thrice,
and of he who then denied you thrice!
Beware the skulls without the shinbones,
and the shinbones without the skulls!
Beware those new in power!
Beware of he who eats your corpses,
of he who devours your live ones dead!
Beware the one hundred and five percent loyal!
Beware the sky this side of the air,
and beware the air beyond the sky!
Beware those who love you!
Beware your heroes!
Beware the dead!
Beware the Republic!
Beware the future! ...




When the battle was over
and the warrior dead, a man came to him
and said: "Don't die; I love you so much!"
But the corpse -- ai! -- kept on dying.

Two drew near him, and repeated:
"Don't leave us! Courage! Come to life again!"
But the corpse -- ai! -- kept on dying.

Twenty turned to him, a hundred, a thousand, half a million,
shouting: "So much love, so powerless against death!"
But the corpse -- ai! -- kept on dying.

Millions of individuals surrounded him
with a common plea: "Stay, brother!"
But the corpse -- ai! -- kept on dying.

Then all the people of the earth surrounded him;
the sad corpse gazed at them, touched;
slowly he sat up;
embraced the first man; began to walk ...



Spain, Take this Chalice from Me!

Children of the world,
if Spain falls -- listen, it's a saying --
if her forearm,
that two earthy plates grasp
in a harness, falls from the sky:
-- children, what an age of hollow temples!
how early in the sun, what I told you of!
how quickly in your breast, the ancient noise!
how old your 2 in the notebook!

Children of the world!
our mother Spain stands with her womb on her back,
she stands as our teacher with her rulers,
as mother and teacher,
cross and wood, because she gave you height
and vertigo, division and total, children:
she stands by herself, you legal fathers!

If she falls -- listen, it's a saying --
if Spain falls, down from the Earth ...
-- children, how you'll stop growing!
how the year will punish the month!
how everything will halt: your teeth at ten,
the dipthong in downstroke, the medal in weeping!
How the lamb will stay tied
by its leg to the great inkwell!
How you'll go down the steps of the alphabet
to the letter where sorrow was born!

sons of the warriors, meanwhile,
hush your voices, for this very moment
Spain is dividing her energy among the animal kingdom,
the little flowers, the comets and men.
Hush your voices, for she stands
with her sternness, which is great, not knowing
what to do, and in her hand
is the speaking skull, and it speaks and speaks,
the skull, the one with braids,
the skull, the skull of life!

Hush your voices, I tell you;
hush your voices, the song of the syllables, the lament
of matter and the minor murmur of the pyramids, and even
of the temples that walk with two stones!
Hush your breath; and if
her forearm falls,
if the rulers slap, if it is night,
if the sky fits in two earthly limbos,
if there is noise in the sound of the doors,
if I am late,
if you don't see anyone, if the pencils without points
frighten you, if mother
Spain falls -- listen, it's a saying --
leave, children of the world; go seek her! ...



[He used to write on the air ... ]

He used to write on the air with his thumb:
"Long LiV the KomraDs! - Pedro Rojas."
from Miranda de Ebro, father and man,
husband and man, railroad-worker and man,
father and more man, Pedro and his two deaths.

Paper of wind, they've killed him: pass it on!
Pen of flesh, they've killed him: pass it on!
"TeL aLL the KomraDs quick!"

Pole they've hung his rifle on,
they've killed him;
they've killed him at the foot of his big finger!
They've killed Pedro, killed Rojas too!

Long LiV the KomraDs
written at the top of his air!
Long LiV ... with this V of the Vulture at the guts
of Pedro
and of Rojas, of the hero and of the martyr.

Inspecting him, dead, they discovered
in his body a great body,
for the soul of the world,
and in his jacket a dead spoon.

Pedro also used to eat
among the creatures of his flesh, tidy up, paint
the table and live sweetly,
representing the whole world,
and this spoon went along in his jacket,
awake and even while he slept, always,
dead spoon alive, she and her symbols.
TeL aLL the Komrads quick!
Long LiV the Komrads at the foot of this spoon foreVer!

They've killed him, forcing death
on Rojas, on Pedro, on the man, on the one
who was born a tiny child, watching the sky,
and then grew, turned red
and struggled with his cells, his no's, his yets,
his hungers, his fragments.

They have killed him softly
in the hair of his woman, Juana Vázquez,
at the hour of the fire, in the year of the bullet,
when he was finally nearing everything.

So Pedro Rojas, after his death,
got up, kissed his bloodied shroud,
wept for Spain,
and wrote on the air again with his thumb:
"Long LiV the KomraDs! - Pedro Rojas."

His corpse was full of world.



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