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All today I thought of the distant sorrow
my flesh must feel, away in its remote houses
and slums damned to darkness,
their shadow world of packed instincts.

At times from its roaring, hidden high seas,
those uncharted leagues, arrive echoes
so faint they die like waves too weak to crest
on a beach congealed in fog and silence.

They are calls that franticly flee
the unknown depths of these secret dramas:
cries for help, screams for aid, groans
as if a colossal ship were wrecked far off.

Oh those limbos submerged in trapped night,
those unimagined inner horizons extending
underground inside us,
beyond the mind's radius of light!

Maybe the saddest interior tragedies,
the most heartbreaking events
take place in those mute shadow slums
as we hear not the faintest moan,
and maybe when we laugh till we cry,
we are the bleak, grotesque setting
of that monstrous, inconsolable sorrow,
whose useless voice is lost in the wind.

Luis Palés Matos
English Translation: Julio Marzán

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Otros poemas - 1920-1934
español Original version