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  THE TALE OF CLAUDIUS MONTEFLAVO

A Rafael Vásquez

As we got to the road-side inn
—from where, down below, the river’s song is heard—
we alighted from the steeds
and the tinkling of goad-spurs and pebbles
sang a song of bloody stars.

Hail-ho, the inn keeper!
—rang out the husky voices.

And then and then the bubbles sang
their crystal-clear notes’ gainst the translucentglass,
and we asked for the Treasure in that mountain — side inn kept:

        “Bye and bye it shall be going, it is going, if notgone yet..."

That inn is a cross-roads of haily winds
—that inn, in a deep gorge in | the nakedness of thesierra—
the wind singing the song of the Winds
and down below, deep down, the river’s ribbon
and the river’s lament.

And then, after the bubbles musical elation,
amid the hearth-stones the fire sang its lay,
the rushing blood its lusty pacan.
Later, the stars on their watch
silently poured their melody
while hostelry hags grumbled their prayers.

And we questioned again:
—where at, Maria-Luz, she of the full, berry lips?

“Bye and bye she shall be going, now she’s going, if she’s not yet gone”.

Clash of steel against rounded-out flint.
Silently we began climbing down
the rough trail and its winding steps:
that trail, under star-light sifted trough violets:
that trail, and the scented and Whispering breezes;
through that trail, amid the harsh twang of wood-land;
through that trail and teh music of quiescent waters
and rushing and falling streams.

From its greenish glassy prison
gushed forth the crystal liquid
in a trilling of bubbles
and perfume of anissed moonshine

Ah of us rode in silence, each one holding dialogue with his friend
But one of us —that rider of flaming red whiskers his the bottle.
sang out, rang out with powerful accents that bore through the blackness
the “King of the Alders”,
quite improperly.. and asked in thundering voice:
—What has happened, prithee, to the road-side inn’s treasure?

“Bye and bye she shall go, now she’s going, ifshe’s not yet gone”.

And again it was heard the bit of bubbles
and transparent glass... And at last we were at die river’s brink.
—It may be that Nuño Ansúrez won’t take us accross in his ferry?
—Pish’ it won’t matter!
      Pish, it won’t matter!

And again issued forth song of bubbles and glasses
and a gurgling of living gems.
It was mid-night. By the river’s brink,
what a limpid mid-night! —This is the forest
of murex and gold!
    This, the open, innumerable life!

And What about the Treasure of the inn?
—Where now is Maria-Luz, she of the coal-black eyes,
the coal-black locks and downy lips?

“Bye and bye she shall be going, now she’sgoing, if she’s not gone yet”.

Netupiromba. Noviembre 17, 1931



León de Greiff
Translated by Frank H. Sturms


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Biblioteca Virtual Luis Ángel Arango: http://www.lablaa.org/blaavirtual/literatura/antolo/antol38.htm