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A blue mount, a wandering bird,
an oak tree, a prairie,
a boy, a song... And, all the same,
my brother, we know nothing now.

Blotted out the paths in the shadows,
the heart of the mount is closed down;
the shepherd’s dog tragically howls
amidst the grass of the sheepfold.

Rest your fatigue on my fatigue
that I may rest my sorrow on your sorrow,
and cry, like me, for the influence
of the evening, translucent and serene.

We will always know nothing...

Who put in our yearning soul,
this vague rumor of foundering seas,
this unbound emotion,
these vain chimeras, this useless ?
In this constant uneasiness, my brother,
we will always know nothing...

In which islands of mysterious caves
did the numens lull you to sleep?
Who gave me the unreal fuel
of my ardent passion, and the resin
that effuses its fragrance in my poems?

What divine anxiety, what soft voice
has in our anxiety its resonance?

All inquiries fail in the void
as the nocturnal fireballs foundered
at the bottom of the sea; all questions
return to us, tremulous and frail
the moment the arrow thrown by the bow
hits against the rough escarpment.

In the rambling impulse, my brother,
we will always know nothing...
                                    And yet...

What mystical influence
pours into our pains a radiant balm?
Who hangs from our shoulders
a royal mantle of glorious purple,
and who comes to our wounds
and anoints them and turns them into roses?

You, who lying on the grass
facing the sky, suddenly say:
«The evening star is lighted»
Avid, my eyes look for its brightness
through the mist, and we ascend
by the thread of light...

                                    A cricket sings
in the regrown moss of the stone hedge
and a conflagration of stars rises
in your breast, calmly facing the evening,
and in my breast, in the evening, appeased...

Porfirio Barba Jacob
Translator: Nicolás Suescún © 2006

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