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Children of the earth,
if Spain falls — I say, it's a manner of speaking —
if there should fall
down from the sky her forearm, which is seized
and pulled along by two earth-forged plates;
children, what an age of sunken temples!
How early in the sun what I was telling you!
How soon within your breast the ancient clamor!
How old your 2 in the quarto.

Children of the earth, here is
Mother Spain with her belly on her back!
Here is our teacher with her yardstick,
she is mother and teacher,
cross and timber, because she gave you the height,
vertigo and division and sum, children
it's up to her, fathers of due process.

If she falls — I say, it's a manner of speaking — If Spain
falls, from the earth downwards,
children! How you are going to stop growing!
How the year is going to punish the month,
how your teeth will be limited to ten,
the diphthong yoked, the medal in tears.
How the little lamb will go on
being tied by the hoof to the great inkwell.
How you are going to go down the steps of the alphabet
to the letter in which grief was born.

sons of warriors, meanwhile,
lower your voice, since Spain at this very moment is dividing
her energy among the animal kingdom,
the tiny flowers, the comets and men.
Lower your voice, for she is
with her rigor, which is great, not knowing
what to do, and there in her hand
is the skull speaking and talk and talk
the skull, that one with the braid,
the skull, that one that's alive!

Lower your voice, I bid you;
lower your voice, the song of the syllables, the weeping
of matter and the minor hum of the pyramids, and even
that of the temples that walk with two stones!
Lower your breath, and if
your forearm drops,
if the yardsticks ring, if it is night,
if the heavens fit betwen two terrestrial limbos,
if there is noise in the sound of doors,
if I delay,
if you don't see anyone, if you are alarmed
by pencils without points, if mother
Spain falls — I say, it's a manner of speaking —
go out, children of the earth, go and seek her!


César Vallejo
Translation by Sandy McKinney

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Voice: Alberti Voice: Rafael Alberti
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