Favorite Poems: The Black Messengers (Los Heraldos Negros) by César Vallejo

(translated by Rachel Benson)


There are some blows in life so hard… I don’t know!
Blows that seem to come from God’s hatred; as if before them,
the backwash of all suffering
were welling into my soul…I don’t know!

They are few, but they are… They open dark furrows
in the toughest faces and the strongest backs.
Perhaps they are the colts of barbarous attilas;
or the black messengers sent us by Death.

They are the grave downfall of the soul’s Christs,
of some adorable faith that Destiny curses.
Those bloody blows are the crackling
of bread heating for us at the oven door.

And man… Poor… poor man! He turns his head
the way we do when a hand is clapped on our shoulder;
he turns his crazed eyes, and all living
is damned up in that glance, like a puddle of guilt.

There are some blows in life so hard… I don’t know!

 

read the poem in the original Spanish

 

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