Spring/Summer 2001

QW #52

CSAR VALLEJO


FRESCO

aaaI came to confuse myself with her
so much...! Through her spiritual turns,
I kept right on playing
among tender strawberry patches,
between her matinal, grecian hands.

aaaaaaaaaaAfterwards, she'd arrange the black
bohemian knots of my scarf. And I
would go back to watching the stone absorbed
in thought, the graceless benches, and the clock
that was winding us in its spool,
to the stroke of its interminable wheel.

aaaaaaaaaaThose former good nights,
that today only make her laugh
at my strange way of dying,
my pensive way of rambling.
Sugar pastes of gold,
bridal jewels of sugar,
that, in the end, are crushed by
the gravestone mortar of this world.

aaaaaaaaaaBut to the tears of love,
the stars are lovely, little handkerchiefs,
lilacs,
oranges,
greens,
that the heart soaks up.
And if now, there's so much bitterness in these silks,
there's a tenderness that is never born,
that never dies, it lets fly
another great, apocalyptic handkerchief,
the blue, unedited, hand of God!

–translated by Rebecca Seiferle

You can read CSAR VALLEJO's poetry, "Fresco" in its entirety in Quarterly West issue #52.