Sermon on Death
And, finally, passing now into the domain of death,
which acts as squadron, former bracket,
paragraph and key, huge hand and dieresis,
for what the Assyrian desk? for what the Christian pulpit,
the intense tug of Vandal furniture
or, even less, this proparoxytonic retreat?
Is it in order to end,
tomorrow, as a prototype of phallic display,
as diabetes and as a white bedpan,
as a geometric face, as a deadman,
that sermon and almonds become necessary,
that there are literally too many potatoes
and this watery spectre in which the gold blazes
and in which the price of snow burns?
Is it for this, that we die so much?
Only to die,
must we die each instant?
And the paragraph that I write?
And the deistic bracket that I raise on high?
And the squadron in which my skull broke down?
And the key which fits all doors?
And the forensic dieresis, the hand,
my potato and my flesh and my contradiction under the bedsheet?
Out of my mind, out of my wolvum, out
of my lamb, out of my sensible horsessence!
Desk, yes, my whole life long; pulpit,
likewise, my whole death long!
Sermon on barbarism: these papers;
proparoxytonic retreat: this skin.
In this way, cognitive, auriferous, thick-armed,
I will defend my catch in two moments,
with my voice and also with my larynx,
and of the physical smell with which I pray
and of the instinct for immobility with which I walk,
I will be proud while I'm alive—it must be said;
my horseflies will swell with pride,
because, at the center, I am, and to the right,
likewise, and, to the left, equally.
By Cesar Vallejo