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Mother, tomorrow I'm off to Santiago
to drench myself in your blessing and in your lament.
I am arranging my disillusions and the sore's
pink of my false bustling.

Your arch of surprise will wait for me,
the tonsured columns of your life-wasting
longings. The patio will wait for me,
the hallway downstairs with its moldings and festive
ornaments. My tutor armchair will wait for me,
that good big-jawed furniture of dynastic
leather, that does nothing but grumble at the great-
great-grandchild buttocks, from strap to little strap.

I am sifting my purest affections,
I'm axising, Can't you hear the plummet panting?
Can't you hear the reveilles straining?
I am shaping your formula of love
for all the hollows of this soil.
Oh if all the silent wheels were disposed
to all the most distant ribbons,
to all the most different dates.

Thus, dead immortal. Thus.
Under the double arches of your blood, through
which one must pass so stealthily, that even my father
to go through there,
humbled himself down to less than half-man,
until being the first child you had.

Thus, dead immortal.
Between the colonnade of your bones
that even a sob cannot tumble down,
and into whose side not even Destiny
could intrude a single finger of his.
Thus, dead immortal.


César Vallejo
Translated by Michael Smith and Valentino Gianuzzi

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