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The sound of the wind in the arcade
holds within it the key to myself:
I am a strengthened puissance,
I am a lamentation of the abyss.

In the midst of the sidereal choirs
I hear a thing in me that’s out of tune.
My actions and my songs
had a very particular rhythm.

I came to the torrent of life
in Santa Rosa de Osos,
in a midnight all in fire
in luminaries of blurry omens.

I took possession of the earth,
mine in dreams, linen and bread;
and, changing the rules of war
I was Eve… and I was Adam.

I embraced the ripe field
as if it were a woman,
and a dark wine of pleasure
muddled me.

I relished the voice of the wind
as if it were a ripe fruit,
and I ate it… with a plaint
of greediness in my heart.

And in the day winged skiff
and to the beat of the sea at night
my fantasy drifted
in a beam of solar light.

I went after the supreme form,
after the cloud and the nightingale
and the crystal, the youth and the gem
of heartache.

I went to the Orient, the Orient,
towards the islands of light,
where an ardent people raised
sublime hymns to the blue.

Crossing then Palestine
I saw the face of Benjamin,
his fine mouth, his limpid eye
and his crimson rapture.

Or in Greece in the golden day,
when Pan gave it the pipe,
Socrates loved in the sonorous
choir that sings of joy.

Or with the zeal and the ardor of the dove
in rut, in the Araby of Allah
I followed the course of Mahomet
for the beauty of Abdallah.

Abdallah was something more beautiful
than laurel and lyre and flute and honey;
when a maiden was taken to him,
a hundred maidens died for him!

My hands gathered in the boundaries
to measure the immensity,
but my heart looked elsewhere
for the light, for love, for truth.

My feet dug in the ground
like the very hoof of Lucifer,
and something in me wanted to fly
through the mist, towards the rose of dawn.

But the mysterious lady
of the splendorous hair
comes and lays her hand
and instills in me a fatal love.

And all other things in life
are nothing but that fatal love,
with a few lamps lit
before the altar of the ideal.

And to wander, wander alone,
the light of Saturn on my brow,
broken topmast on the waves,

And a glory in my choleric soul
that defies the frowning destiny:
the pride of being — oh America! —
the Ashaverus of your poetry…

And in the fleeting flower of the moment
searching for the lost aroma,
and in a pleasure without thoughts
discovering the key of oblivion.

Afterwards a wind… a wind… a wind…
and in that wind, my lamentation!

Porfirio Barba Jacob
Translated by Nicolás Suescún

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