The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Sunday

Masa (Mass)
By César Vallejo

When the battle was over,
and the fighter was dead, a man came toward him
and said: "Do not die; I love you so!"
But the corpse, it was sad! went on dying.

And two came near, and told him again and again:
"Do not leave us! Courage! Return to life!"
But the corpse, it was sad! went on dying.

Twenty arrived, a hundred, a thousand, five hundred thousand,
shouting: "So much love, and it can do nothing against death!"
But the corpse, it was sad! went on dying.

Millions of persons stood around him,
all speaking the same thing: "Stay here, brother!"
But the corpse, it was sad! went on dying.

Then, all the men on the earth
stood around him; the corpse looked at them sadly, deeply moved;
he sat up slowly,
put his arm around the first man; started to walk....


From Poet's Choice by Edward Hirsch in today's Washington Post (currently overrun by news from Iraq): "César Vallejo's poems have an anguished power, a rebellious lexical energy and a wild, freewheeling emotionalism. Sympathy for the suffering of others is a current that runs through all of his work." Here's another one:

The Black Heralds
By César Vallejo

There are blows in life, so powerful ... I don't know!
blows like God's hatred; as if before them,
the undertow of everything suffered
were to well up in the soul ... I don't know!

They're few; but they exist; ... They open dark furrows
in the most ferocious face and the most powerful loins.
Perhaps they're wooden horses of barbaric Attilas,
or black messengers that Death sends to us.

They're profound lapses of the soul's Christs,
of some adorable faith that Destiny blasphemes.
Those bloodthirsty blows are cracklings of some
bread that in the oven's door burns up on us.

And man ... Poor ... poor man! He turns his eyes, as
when a slap on the shoulder calls us by name;
he turns his crazed eyes, and everything he's lived
wells up, like a pool of guilt, in his gaze.

There are blows in life, so powerful ... I don't know!


We have snow! About four inches, enough to have caused Hebrew school to be cancelled as there has been no plowing in our area yet. They are saying, when the weather reporters can get a word in edgewise, that we will get freezing rain and terrible road conditions later. I am glad I went to Best Buy last night to pick up my new Palm Zire 71. I love birthdays!

Today I want to learn to use it, in between doing twelve thousand chores and TT work. I have eaten WAY WAY too much in the last three days -- not that I am really complaining as I enjoyed every minute of it. But I ate five of my last six lunches and dinners out, and the holiday season hasn't even started yet. My in-laws offered to take us out for a big dinner yesterday and I actually declined and said let's just bring in burritos, because that was all I could deal with.

Speaking of gifts, read aesc's "Aragorn the King", in which Gerbil!Aragorn and Plastic!Theoden work out their differences. In her honor:


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