Self-Portrait of Adolescence

Pablo de Rokha
1894 – 1968


Among green snakes and verbenas,
my status of a tame lion
has a lackluster buzz of hives
and a bark of burned ocean.

With ghosts and chains that cling
I’m a rotten religion and a fallen king,
or a feudal castle whose battlements
raise your name like golden bread.

Towers of blood on battlefields,
Smell of heroic sun and shrapnel,
of the sword of a terrified nation.

They are heard in my being, full of the dead
and wounded, of ashes and deserts,
where a great poet commits suicide.

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