rondel

Love, happiness and content
are birds of passage that
travel the blue of the firmament in a floating line,
breathe out a lament to the air,
and disperse in swift flight.

What are the thousands upon thousands
of generations that shine and sink at sunset,
that are born and succumb in millions?
Birds of passage.

Oh unhappy souls, it is useless
to bind yourself to the world with roots.
Powerful and mysterious impulses
carry us among shadows, aimlessly;
for we are, alas, but eternal wanderers.
Birds of passage.

Manuel González Prada

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symphony in grey major

The sea like some giant crystal of quicksilver
reflects the metal plate of a sky of rolled zinc.
Far away there are flocks of birds forming a stain
on a polished background of a pale shade of gray.

The sun, a piece of glass, both rounded and opaque,
walks toward its zenith with a sick person’s steps.
The breezes from the sea take a rest in the shade,
using as a pillow what their black trumpets play.

The waves, moving their bellies made of lead,
seem to be moaning under the great wharf.
Sitting on a cable and puffing on his pipe,
there is a mariner, thinking about beaches
in some distant country, lost on a foggy day.

That sea-wolf is ancient. The burning rays of light
from the Brazilian sun toasted him to a crisp.
The harshest typhoons on the South China Sea
found him drinking his gin in a protected bay.

Iodine and nitrate fecundate the sea-spray
that has known his red nose for a very long time,
and his curly hair, too, and his athlete’s biceps,
his hat made of canvas, his shirt ripped in a fray.

In the midst of the smoke from clouds of tobacco
the old man can discern the country lost in fog,
where on one afternoon that was golden and warm,
the brigantine weighed anchor and then sailed away.

Tropical siesta. The sea-wolf is sleeping.
The gamut of the gray enshrouds everything now.
It seems like some gentle and huge stump of paper
for shading the lines that frame the curved sky today.

Tropical siesta, and the old cicada
practices its guitar so hoarse and so senile.
The cricket tries out a monotonous solo
on the one-stringed violin it knows how to play.

Rubén Darío

tears

In the spring,
When a myriad birds chirp lustily,
All things of nature
Take on new life, while I alone
Move ever onward to old age.

Anonymous

the death of guillaume apollinaire

 

we know nothing
we knew nothing of grief

the bitter season of cold

digs long furrows in our muscles

he would have preferred the joy of victory

wise under calm sorrows    caged
unable to do anything at all

if snow fell upward

if the sun rose to meet us during the night

to warm us

and trees hung with their crown upside down

—unique teardrop—

if birds were here with us to contemplate themselves

in the tranquil lake above our heads

WE COULD UNDERSTAND

death would be a beautiful long voyage

and an unlimited vacation from the flesh of structures and of bones.

Tristan Tzara