The Water

06-17 Arteche
Miguel Arteche
Chilean
1926 – 2012

 

I woke up at midnight
the whole house set sail.
In the early morning,
there was rain with rain.
The house was in silence,
the mountains restrained,
that night, one could hear
but the falling rain.
I saw me that night
searching vents in vain;
at home, and the world,
no brothers, mum, friends.
The space was dark, cold,
and cold the ship stayed
with me. Who moved all
lonely candle flames?
No one told me, go,
No one told me, stay,
inside, within me,
Home, I left away.
She saw who I was,
she seemed far someday.
I couldn’t lean back
on the pillow’s surface.
That midnight I searched
while the house sailed straight.
Above the world hearing
but the fall of rain.

To See Him Again

Gabriela Mistral
Chilean
1889 – 1957

 

Never, never again?
Not on nights filled with quivering stars,
or during dawn’s maiden brightness
or afternoons of sacrifice?

Or at the edge of a pale path
that encircles the farmlands,
or upon the rim of a trembling fountain,
whitened by a shimmering moon?

Or beneath the forest’s
luxuriant, raveled tresses
where, calling his name,
I was overtaken by the night?
Not in the grotto that returns
the echo of my cry?

Oh no. To see him again —
it would not matter where —
in heaven’s deadwater
or inside the boiling vortex,
under serene moons or in bloodless fright!

To be with him…
every springtime and winter,
united in one anguished knot
around his bloody neck!

(to the smell of misfortune)

We present this work in honor of Chilean Independence Day.

Rosabetty Muñoz
Chilean
b. 1960

 

The aridity of the gardens
finally tired them all.
Nothing, not even carrots
would grow in that rocky soil.

Breaking your back for
a fistful of herbs.

And the flowers? You’ll say.
And those huge dahlias, like trees?
Don’t remind me of those carnivores.
They seemed to shine their petals
to the smell of misfortune.
They grew
opened
moved their stamens
as we steadily fell.

Self-Portrait of Adolescence

Pablo de Rokha
Chilean
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.

The Bloody Fight Has Ceased

We present this work in honor of the 110th anniversary of the poet’s death.

Eusebio Lillo
Chilean
1826 – 1910

 

I

The bloody fight has ceased;
and yesterday’s invader is now our brother;
three centuries we washed the affront
fighting in the field of honor.
That who yesterday was a slave
is free and triumphant today;
freedom is the heritage of the brave,
Victory lies shameful to his feet.

II

Rise, Chile, with a spotless forehead;
you conquered your name on the fight;
always noble, constant and courageous
the children of the Cid found you.
May your free calmly crown
the arts, industry and peace,
and may they sing songs of your triumph
to intimidate the daring despot.

III

Your names, brave soldiers
who have been Chile’s mainstay,
they are engraved in our chests;
our children will know them as well.
May they be the death cry
that comes out when we march to the fight,
and ringing in the mouth of the strong
they always make the tyrant tremble.

IV

If the foreign cannon intends
to invade, daring, our people;
let’s draw our arms
and know victory or death.
With its blood the proud Araucanian
inherited its courage to us;
and the sword doesn’t tremble in the hand
of that who defends the honor of Chile.

V

How pure, Chile, is your blue sky
And how pure the breezes that blow across you
And your countryside embroidered with flowers
Is a wonderful copy of Eden
How majestic are the snow-covered mountains
That were given to you by God as protection
And the sea that tranquilly bathes your shores
Promises future splendor for you

VI

That pride, oh, Homeland!, those flowers
growing on your fertile soil,
may they never be stepped on by invaders;
may your shadow cover them with peace.
Our chests will be your bastion
in your name we will know how to win,
or your noble, glorious emblem
will see us fall in the fight.

Beloved Homeland, receive the vows
That Chile gave you on your altars
That you be either the tomb of the free
Or a refuge from oppression

The Hospital, One Afternoon

Carlos Pezoa Veliz
Chilean
1879 – 1908

 

Athwart the fields the drops are falling,
Softly, gently, on the plains;
And through the drops a grief is calling,—
It rains.

Alone amid my sick-ward spacious
Where I my bed of weakness keep,
There’s naught to fight my grief voracious,
But sleep.

But mists are gathering around me
With choking hold upon my veins;
I wake from out the sleep that bound me—
It rains.

Then, as if in my final anguish,
Before the landscape’s mighty brink,
Amid the mists that fall and languish,
I think.

Narcissus

Stella Díaz Varín
Chilean
1926 – 2006

 

I’m absent from laughter
and everything happy men possess.
While blood flees like a deer
through every landscape
for no apparent reason,
as if believing that the most remote images
silence our thought.
Still upright, despite
those dark-rooted suns,
I approach your winged figure,
your little vertigos,
and teach you to watch
like only fish can,
in orbits unfamiliar to your hands.
I emerge -little god-
from the most secluded womb
to join you with a perfectly measured distance.

We share a certain gaze,
and an open door
to encumber our conversations;
leaning on the frame, gathered there
like the abandoned gather themselves,
nursing an ancient music
even greater than life and death.
And you revolt, known angel, anticipating the fall.

Truth prefers this behavior.
That’s how you come and go
and wrap yourself in the luminescence of old stars
so that I can watch your skeleton,
knowing full well that there’s nothing more beautiful
than the becoming of sea into bones.

In the end one gets used to
no one saying goodbye,
and to perceiving sound
in the palm of a hand,
like sea horses
sense love
as they caress each other’s fishbone spines.

Beautified in a drop of water
seen through thirst,
you come to know my first workdays.
The steep channels that led God
to unite snow, tree heart,
bile, dark resin,
indecision, pendulum, eternity,
and night through eyes.

The Last Toast

Nicanor Parra
Chilean
1914 – 2018

 

Whether we like it or not,
We have only three choices:
Yesterday, today and tomorrow.

And not even three
Because as the philosopher says
Yesterday is yesterday
It belongs to us only in memory:
From the rose already plucked
No more petals can be drawn.

The cards to play
Are only two:
The present and the future.

And there aren’t even two
Because it’s a known fact
The present doesn’t exist
Except as it edges past
And is consumed…,
like youth.

In the end
We are only left with tomorrow.
I raise my glass
To the day that never arrives.

But that is all
we have at our disposal.

This Is How I Want to Die

Rosario Orrego
Chilean
1834 – 1879

 

Who could die like that cloud
that I watch, softly evaporate
white and airy to the firmament rising
on light, atmospheric wings.

Who could die like the star,
eclipsing a few moments, and then no more
to shine again, like her,
in other blue-clad firmaments!

Who could be aurora ray
and, in afternoon’s decline, diffuse
into twilight burning gold
the moribund light as it waves goodbye!

Who could be wilting flower
painlessly bending one’s chalice
and even pale and inert, shedding petals
and spilling ambrosia into the aura!

But I am no flower, no errant cloud,
No star of blinking worlds…
I have a heart, a caring soul,
pieces all, made to be torn out!

This is why I want to be weightless atom,
perfumed breath of breeze,
to fool suffering
and die exhaling grins.

That in your bosom no more, Nature,
death is a voluptuous fainting,
rather a pretty expression;
and not a single thing into eternal repose sinking.