CONJUNCTIONS: A Web Exclusive
Three Poems
César Vallejo
translated by Rebecca Seiferle



Weary Rings

    There’s the desire to return, to love, to not be absent,
and the desire to die, fought by two
opposing waters that are never to be an isthmus.

    There’s the desire for a great kiss that shrouds Life,
that ends in the Africa of burning, suicidal
death throes!

    There’s the desire … to have no desire, Lord;
I point the finger of deicide at you:
there’s the desire to have never had a heart.

    Spring returns, and will go away. And God,
curved in time, repeats himself, and walks by, walks by
carrying on his back the backbone of the Universe.

    When my temples play their lugubrious drum,
when the dream engraved on a dagger hurts me,
there’s the desire to remain rooted in this verse!






Eternal Bridal Bed

    Only when it ceases to be is Love strong!
And the tomb will be the great pupil of the eye,
in whose depth, the anguish of love
survives and cries, as if in a chalice
of sweet eternity and black dawn.

    And the lips curl up for the kiss,
like something full that overflows and dies,
and, in each twitching union,
each mouth renounces for the other
a life of death throes.

    And when I think like this, sweet is the grave
where, at last, everyone interpenetrates
in one loud noise;
sweet is the shadow where everyone’s wedded
in love’s universal tryst.






Lines

    Each ribbon of fire,
that in search of Love,
I cast and vibrate in lamentable roses,
births me to the burial of my eve.
I don’t know if the throbbing where I search
will be the painting of rock,
or the perennial birthing of heart.

    There is stretched out in the very depth of being,
an ultranervous axis, a profound plumb line.
The thread of destiny!
Love will deflect such a law of life
toward the voice of Man;
and will give us supreme liberty
in blue transubstantiation, virtuous,
against what is blind and fatal.

    May there throb in each cipher,
hidden away in fragile dawns,
a even better Jesus of another great Yolk!

    And afterwards … The other line …
A Baptist who watches, watches, watches …
And, riding the intangible curve,
a foot bathed in purple.