NERVOUS FRENZY OF ANGUISH
Sweet Hebrewess, unnail my clay transit;
unnail my nervous tension and my pain...
Unnail, eternal beloved, my long care and
the two nails of my wings and the nail of my love!
I am back from the desert where I often fell;
put away the hemlock and offer me your wines:
with a moan of love, frighten off my assassins,
whose features are Longinus’s steadfast blindnesses!
Unnail my nails, O new mother of mine!
Symphony of olive-trees, pour out your weeping!
And you will wait, sitting near my dead flesh,
for the threat to yield, for the lark to be gone!
You pass... come back... your mourning braids my hair-cloth
with curare drops, ridges of humanity,
the rocky dignity that lies in your chastity,
and the judithian quicksilver of your inner honey.
It’s eight in a charmer cream-coloured morning...
It’s cold... A dog goes by gnawing the bone of another
dog that passed... And a match I extinguished
in capsules of silence begins to weep on my nerves!
And in my heretic soul a Dionysiac loathing of coffee
sings its sweet Asiatic festival...!
César Vallejo, 1918
Translated by Valentino Gianuzzi and Michael Smith