César Vallejo – Trilce XX


Vallejo’s second collection of poems, Trilce, does not bear any other titles than roman numerals. There do not appear to be any organic sequences in the collection, however, numerous scholars have pointed out that certain poems can be grouped together, based on their thematic content, the poetic devices employed & biographical data that has been acquired over the last 80 years or so. Concerning this last category, it’s important to know that about one third of the poems in Trilce were written in the Trujillo jail, where Vallejo had been imprisoned on trumped up charges of “intellectual instigation”. In its totality, the theme of the jail takes on a monumental role & allows the poet to explore the idea of incarceration not only as a personal experience, but as an existential condition as well. Trilce XX is one of these ‘jail poems’. It’s also noteworthy that this theme also receives expression in Vallejo’s last publication before expatriating– Escalas (Scales) –where a series of prose poems can be seen as a very close link to the poetic exploration that takes place in Trilce. Below, you will find the Spanish version of the poem:


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