Treasure Island

Cesar Vallejo

(16 March 1892 – 15 April 1938 / La Libertad)

Black Messengers. (Translation of Los heraldos negros)


There are in life such hard blows . . . I don't know!
Blows seemingly from God's wrath; as if before them
the undertow of all our sufferings
is embedded in our souls . . . I don't know!

There are few; but are . . . opening dark furrows
in the fiercest of faces and the strongest of loins,
They are perhaps the colts of barbaric Attilas
or the dark heralds Death sends us.


They are the deep falls of the Christ of the soul,
of some adorable one that Destiny Blasphemes.
Those bloody blows are the crepitation
of some bread getting burned on us by the oven's door


And the man . . . poor . . . poor!
He turns his eyes around, like
when patting calls us upon our shoulder;
he turns his crazed maddened eyes,
and all of life's experiences become stagnant, like a puddle of guilt, in a daze.


There are such hard blows in life. I don't know

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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  • Philip Catley (5/2/2014 5:30:00 PM)

    A reviewer (Alaric) on Amazon proposed this alternative translation, which I prefer:

    There are beatings in life, so heavy... I don't know!
    - Lashes issued from the hatred of God, as if
    before them the undercurrent of all endured;
    welts inundated within the soul... I don't know!

    They are few, but they're... They burrow uncertain lines
    in the most insolent faces, and in the strongest back;
    Perhaps they are the colts of barbarous Attilas,
    or the black heralds dispatched to us at Death's behest.

    They are the deep descents of the Christs of the soul,
    of some adored faith cursed by Fate.
    Those bloodying blows are crepetations
    at the oven's door of some loaf we burn with.

    And the man, the poor... poor man!
    - He turns his eyes... he turns his maddened eyes
    as when a hand on the shoulder falls upon us,
    and everything lived swells -like a pool of guilt- in the glance.

    There are blows in life, so heavy... I don't know! (Report) Reply

Read all 1 comments »

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