César Vallejo – Trilce LXX

Pendulum

Trilce LXX, another poem by the Peruvian poet, César Vallejo, again presents the reader with the decision of how to interpret the abnormal line-breaks or enjambments. For those of you familiar with Lima, you’ll notice that the capitalized “Barrancos” does not only refer us to “cliffs”, but also to that seaside borough of the city.

The culminating image of the pendulum marks the poem with a question of transcendence, & interestingly enough, it is a question left unanswered. It is unknown whether the pendulum– here likening the image of a guillotine –has torn us to shreds or whether we have transcended the threats of the natural world, transcended ourselves, & reached a greater degree of clarity.

LXX

Todos sonríen del desgaire con que voy-
me a fondo, celular de comer bien y bien be-
ber.

Los soles andan sin yantar? O hay quien
les da granos como a pajarillos? Francamente,
yo no sé de esto casi nada.

Oh piedra, almohada bienfaciente al fin. Amémonos
los vivos a los vivos, que a las buenas cosas muertas
será después. Cuánto tenemos que quererlas
y estrecharlas, cuánto. Amemos las actuali-
dades, que siempre no estaremos como estamos.
Que interinos Barrancos no hay en los esenciales
cementerios.

El porteo va en el alfar, a pico. La jornada nos
da en el cogollo, con su docena de escaleras, escala-
das, en horizontizante frustración de pies, por pávi-
das sandalias vacantes.

Y temblamos avanzar el paso, que no sabemos si
damos con el péndulo, o ya lo hemos cruzado.

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