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I forget to live if I remember you,
I recognize that I am dust of the earth
and I incorporate you, as does
that part closest to your grave,
insensitive land that usurps
the zealous love of your friends.

With your life over, its outline
is forever fully drawn:
there’s no door to take you into the future.

The tree of your name has blossomed
into an incalculable Spring.
Death is perfection, a rounding off.
Only the dead can be named.
We who live are nameless.

The mythical makers of fame catapult
the chants of your name world-wide
and life’s lake opens its eyes
with endless eyelids of glass:
There is no mountain, no sky, no plain,
that does not concentrically enhance
the echo of your illustrious name.

It’s not a brother’s grief, not human pain,
my suffering is part of the sentiment
that turns the pensive stars into flowers
embroidered on the night that shrouds you.
I write these words separately
from the daily pattern of my sleep,
from a distant planet where I suffer
your irreparable loss in tears.


Manuel Altolaguirre
Translation by John Lyons

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