Black stone upon a white stone

Black stone upon a white stone

I’ll die in Paris when it’s pouring with rain
On a day whose memory I cherish.
I’ll die in Paris (it makes no odds to me),
On maybe a Thursday like today, in autumn.

Yes, a Thursday because today, Thursday
O what dull verse. . . my upper arms won’t respond,
And never like today have I about-faced
To see myself all alone, the years I’ve known.

César Vallejo has died, beaten by
One and all, though he did them no harm.
They beat him hard with a stick
Hard too with a rope: his upper arms;
The Thursdays; the rain and loneliness;
The journeys, all bear witness. . .

César Vallejo (1892-1938)

Translation by John Lyons

Nyctalopia

Nyctalopia

The energy that runs
           through our veins
what I like to call
           star-blood
and this world
           driven by light
and reality
           weighed down
by time
           and the cities
that rise up
           within us
the rivers
           that rise and fall
and endless words
           beauty and truth
and love
           and César Vallejo
that most human
           of poets
who wrote
           of how much
it costs
           to be poor

John Lyons


“la cantidad enorme que cuesta el ser pobre,” César Vallejo, Los poemas humanos