Los heraldos negros (1918)

Harbingers in Black
by Cesar Abraham Vallejo Mendoza; translated by Guillermo Calvo Mahé (Translation © Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Ocala, Florida, 2006; all rights reserved)

Some of life’s blows are so harsh…   I just don’t know!
Blows like God’s hatred; as if in their wake,
all suffering is drawn, pooling in our souls
…  I just don’t know!

They’re few; but they “are” … Cutting dark furrows
in the fiercest face and in the broadest back.
Perhaps they’re the foals of barbarian Huns;
or perhaps; Death-sent, they’re its harbingers in black.

Falls from grace of the soul’s own messiahs,
of a faith, blasphemed by Fate, but still worth adoring.
Those gory blows; sizzling sounds
of bread smoldering on an oven grate.

And man…  Poor, poor man!  He turns his eyes, astonished,
as when someone cuffs at our face from behind.
He lifts his shocked eyes and, like pooling- guilt,
the pain of life congeals in his gaze.

Some of life’s blows are so harsh…   I just don’t know!

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