IN THE GREEK TENTS
Yes, the Soul grew afraid
at five o'clock on that faded blue afternoon.
The lip implored it between linens,
pouting like a bridegroom to his bride.
Thought, the great General, strapped
on the sword of deicide.
The Heart was dancing; but then sobbed:
was the enslaved dancer wounded?
Not at all! It was just the tigers brushing by
while racing to post themselves in that corner
to watch sadly the sunsets arriving from Athens.
There'll be no cure for this hospital of nerves —
great, irritated camp of this late afternoon!
And the General considers how to blow up the sinister pains
in the narrow defile of my nerves!
César Vallejo, 1918
Translated by Rebecca Seiferle