Dream of Man

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, we present this work by one of modern Mexico’s most heartfelt poets.

Margarita Michelena
1917 – 1998


for Efrain Huerta

You run through the night like a blind fountain,
Like a rich vein of sleeping music.
Your skin—simple forest of touch and dew—
Is the clear reef that limits your dream,
The place where the blood of tumultuous crests
Is met softly by the waiting shore.
—That lovely blood of yours, high and resplendent,
Wearing its necklace of music and sound
Through the hoisted rosebush of your veins.
Singing in the thirsty caverns of your pulse
Its elastic and burning score—.

In you, sleeping man, the world goes breathing,
The dawn is readied, and roses are invented.
Your children are raised up, imminent and beautiful.
They shine beneath your flesh, which asleep,
Is like a great transparent silence.
If you could see yourself on the summit of your dream…
You are not yourself certainly. You are more: a mirror
Of your deepest life, of the great hidden life
Which blind and powerful carries you
In your smallest gestures without anyone seeing it,
In the things you do when walking down the street
With your cruel suit and your eyes open.

Lost among resounding arrows of daylight
You are only a slight seed in the nothingness,
A weak despairing light
Which shines a moment
Between two infinite solitudes and runs toward death.
You feel how collapse already works in your bones.
Installing its irremediable darkness.
Behind the two gloomy vaults of your eyes.
You are always taking leave
Of the fleeting wonder of your flesh,
Looking at its devoured beauty,
Knowing your death grows and grows
Inside you, like an enclosed garden,
Like a dark apple, hanging,
From the tragic and beautiful
Branches of your veins.
And so you go, alone, alone, despairingly abandoned,
Like an infinite widower of your own body.

But when asleep you open like a rose
That is going to die, but that carries within,
In its cloister of active and blind love,
A sweet galaxy of beauty,
A close daughter of its perfume
Which at the same time its mother dies
Repeats her in color and architecture.
In dream your flesh disembarks
As upon an invulnerable continent.
There you can watch those unknown faces
Those that nightly model themselves in you,
That construct their dance and beauty,
The future column of their voices,
The desolate tower of their tears
And the loving snow of their teeth.

What eternity, what mysterious force
Inhabits you when you sleep,
While you are a quiet island
Lost in the ocean of your bed,
And in which musics and bonfires grow,
The infinite fingers of grass
And noisy armies of children
That demand your love and their disaster.

You are what declines, but also the eternal:
The seed in its place, separating itself,
The mystic darkness of the blood.
And there you are, victorious and defeated,
Burned by oils of mystery,
Possessed, undone, carried
By innumerable and future feet,
Your forehead crowned by dark angels,
Your hero’s shoulders wasted on the world
And your body filled with love and moans.

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