What a Thursday, so Thursday it was then, Cesar,
when you died, so loved, with the words on your back!
They hit you
with a rope
and with a stick
and you said >,
even though you were hurting in differential
of your handkerchief with rain at the four corners
of your square forehead.
Wherever you are now, Cesar,
(and pardon the informality)
I warn you
that your loved ears Sanchez
orphans by these eternal dice of life
sadly to hitchhike your hands Sanchez
or they are
jailed your loved eyes Sanchez.
And the body of Pedro Rojas
-that you used to see full of life-
it has marks of electrodes on the testicles
and his spirit is a dead spoon in his jacket.
How, Cesar, you went to die,
but it is understood
that if one analyzes
and if one analyzes
this sullen air
that always accompanies you from Santiago of Chuco.
A native face you have, your eyes can’t be distinguished
on the cane,
but your face is more beautiful
and your head held higher
than Miss World.
Here the things have changed so little
almost nothing, Cesar!;
the horse yawns in the waiting dawn
and Aguedita and Miguel don’t come,
they will not come anymore
to open the door of the house
that doesn’t exist anymore;
the Spanish civil war goes on
in whatever part the militias are
they fight with their chests and rifles
and the death passes with bread on the shoulder
behind the doors,
Cesar, it is still said
when one gets sick from height, the childhood
in the painful adulthood of the man
and the Peruvian Indian wakes up blind every day
to work for a living.
What a Thursday that one then
when you died of tuberculosis
-even though maybe it wasn’t Thursday,
only in Paris, all the days were Thursdays
for Cesar Vallejo-
and even though neither in Chile or in my native America
we are in Paris,
with heavy rain
and they know it, the Thursdays, the humerus bones, and the roads.
(Trans. Robert Manzanares)