Three Latin American poets

We hope you enjoyed the series of poems by Rogelio Guedea we posted recently – if you missed it, go back and have a listen to Rogelio and Roger Hickin reading them in Spanish and English.

Rogelio now shares a few selections of Latin American poetry, old and new.

Los amorosos / Jaime Sabines, Mexico

Masa / César Vallejo, Peru

      The battle over,
the fighter dead; a man came up to him
and said: “Don’t die, I love you so much!”
But the corpse, alas! kept on dying.

      Two more approached and insisted:
“Don’t leave us! Be brave! Return to life!”
But the corpse, alas! kept on dying.

      Twenty, a hundred, a thousand, five hundred thousand turned up,
crying out: “So much love and so helpless in the face of death!”
But the corpse, alas! kept on dying.

      Individuals by the million gathered round him,
all implored him: “Stay with us brother!”
But the corpse, alas! kept on dying.

      Then all the people on earth
gathered round him; the corpse, overwhelmed, looked at them sadly;
raised himself slowly,
embraced the first man; began to walk...

Algún día encontraré una palabra… / Robert Juarroz, Argentina

One day I’ll find a word
that will reach into your belly and make it fruitful,
a word that will linger on your breast
like a hand at once open and clenched.

I’ll discover a word
that will grasp your body and make it spin
that will contain your body
and open your eyes like unclouded gods
and wear your saliva
and spread your legs wide.
Perhaps you won’t hear it
or understand it.
There’s no need for that.
It will go through your insides like a wheel
traversing you at last
from head to toe,
you who are mine and not mine,
and won’t stop, even if you die.

Translations by Roger Hickin, reproduced with permission.

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