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There are blows in life so heavy... I don't know!
Blows as if from the hatred of God; as if before them
the backwash of everything suffered
has welled up in the soul... I don't know!

They are few, but they exist... they open dark gashes
in the most ferocious countenance and in the strongest back.
It may be they are the colts of savage Attilas,
or the black riders sent to us by Death.

They are the deep backslidings of the Christs of the soul,
away from some precious faith blasphemed by Destiny.
Those bloody blows are the cracklings
of a loaf that burns up before us at the oven door.

And man... poor thing... poor thing! He rolls his eyes,
as when we're summoned by a clap on the shoulder.
He rolls his crazy eyes, and everything he's lived through
wells up, like a pool of guilt, in that gaze.

There are blows in life so heavy... I don't know!


César Vallejo, 1918
Translation by Sandy McKinney

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