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Thursday, October 25, 2012

O, All My Life

by Séamas Carraher
Alguien pasa contando con sus dedos.
Cómo hablar del no-yó sin dar un grito?
Someone walks by counting on his fingers.
How speak of the not-I without crying out?
Cesar Vallejo, Poemas Humanos. (5 noviembre 1937)
translated by Clayton Eshleman (1968)

O, all my life, in its
bottomless bits,
who shaking our flag
was shook by the chest,
how all headless men shout
this calling with no answers
(and animal in bones
to bite his own heart).
And so fell the world
with its arms all futile
and wonder in knots
for a man with no feet.
O, once upon a time
he was, (i found him)
lost among seasons,
(his minutes sharp and mean)
for change that could not change him,
and raw with working
(O all this class!)
for countless days and still the dark,
solid yet so full of veins,
who struggles yet seen it dead,
and absent in places
(and him more thing that
wrench the soul,
that build these men
and break them)
and sad and stifled,
andnobody in names
these lips and lovers
without love.

O all our life, large with its louts

and a nameless man
who screams in dread,
and all his sky so full of richness
(and then these children starving!)
Such sight inside his sightless brain:
and guns.
And bombs.
All killing dead.
And nothing said.
All saying sung.
And nothing done.
O, all his life with its fire
lit with fuses!
For these eyes a crutch!
A heart for that leg!
And lungs and voice
to bewilder it back.
(This beast-in-power
looks like a man!)
O all that life,
lousy in its dregs,
who dreamed the most but better.
i shook him! And pitied him,
(promised him bread, a slice a mouth)
and the waking parts were beautiful,
but the rest, rags and rotted.
i cried with him
but his mouth was stone.
i nursed him,
and cursed him
(to despair this bad)
then cursed them all,
whose heart was this?
And there was a place
with no single
song left,
and no mouth to shout its end.
O all our life, in its futile flags
and all, and everywhere
this rotten siege,
these church bells, and guards,
their spies and things.
i called him commissar
and shouted him books,
(this empty laugh with
its throat all cut)
blew wind
and watered him
cried in secrets
for his shame that bad,
was god and mother that could
love him not.
O all that world, that wordless world!
And man, like child, who drowns
in our darkness,
and empties bare the last
of these shouts.
If only i could sing, he thinks
(grave as a tomorrow with your hand in mine)
of all this life in loss and loudness,
our silence grim,
it aches and utters.
No home or rest in this war
full of butchers,
no walk or flight will fix
this stone.
O all our li
(this funeral life!)
Its love now loss,
and all this endless wartime,
sinking now
into your nearly

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