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If Jonah is not currently alive, right now in my humours, in my blood and in the mud of my bones that is the same first mud of the Creation, this little poetic holy book would be no more than another Milesian tale;
If Job’s wounds are not mine and are no longer burning in my flesh, this dramatic book of the Scriptures in which the leper of the world shouts until the Lord wakes is no more than another pathetic and dialectical hoax;
If I cannot be the justification, the prolongation and the correction of Whitman (I have here a correction: Oh, Walt Whitman! Your word happiness has erased my tears), Poetry, all the world’s poetry, is no more than a paralytic song;
And if the large vulture has stopped devouring my entrails and those of all the other condemned poets of the world, Prometheus was only a decorative Greek motif in a fronton, in a metope… and there were never any myths.
But there are myths. There are myths without beginning nor end. In the world’s flesh the myths were sown and in this same flesh they have to flourish. Because nothing has been achieved yet. And what is achieved will be for the will of the wind and the submissive and painful offer of man’s flesh. God will put on the light and we will put on our tears.

I was in the first mystical flash of the world; and I am now burning in the miracle of redeeming morning light.
And if I can say now without pride, I am the one who receives the song, who maintains it and transmits it, it is because you can also say it.
But who has said it?

“I change agony like clothes, I don’t ask the wounded how they feel, I turn into the wounded.
Their wounds become livid in my flesh whilst I observe them, leaning on my stick.
That man who sits on the dock and is accused of theft, is me; and that beggar is also me.
Look at me, stretching out my hat and asking embarrassed for alms...”

Yes, yes. Who has said that? The poet has said it, any one of the poets. The-funnel-and-the-Wind. Now I repeat it myself. And I repeat it with my flesh and my conscience, no longer with my words. And if I am that thief convicted of theft, and that beggar who stretches out his hat and is embarrassed asking for alms, I am also Jonah and Job and Whitman and Prometheus and a lizard and an iguana... and much more. And whilst the poets cannot say this without pride or humility or without shocking anyone, as it is no more than a sign of presence and sympathy, with the anguish and hope of all Creation, Poetry will remain paralytic in the hands and at the judgement of all who proudly claims that their self, with the personal and mortal attributes of the temporary man, who is the generator and transformer of the world’s Poetry.

The poet is no more than burning flesh. And poetry, a relentless flame.

To me, the previous verse is the torch the poet I looked for ahead held in hand, and the verse that follows me is a light lighting another in the heavy shadows of the night, looking at my signals.

I say again:
I sing not of destruction:
My lyre is based on the greatest poetic symbols.
Again I cry:
The blasphemous verse of my leprous bones will converse with the Lord from the whirlwind once more.
I also state that I come from the shadows and dreams.
And if I say:
My song flourishes in the convergence of the myths, I can add:
Here I am: Look at me! Stuck on this rock, with a vulture on my chest.
And this noise that you hear isn’t my lament, it is the daughters of Oceanus lapping against my feet and moistening my eyelids.
The stars lean over the bitter waters to save me;
under the light, the sea works, it bites the rock, it smoothes the channels...
and when Prometheus awakes, our helmsmen will lead the keel of the Parnassus.


León Felipe
Translated by Lucy

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