Invocation

11-14 Obeso
Candelario Obeso
Colombian
1849 – 1884

 

Oh God of mercy! Enlighten my mind a moment
Of the vast universe, you are life, you are glory, you are sun;
To each planet from your invisible Being descends
an impalpable ray – goodness, greatness, love.

Eternal that ray is the focus of mysterious light,
The fruitful fount of what always is said to emanate.
Happy the one that walks lit by God in the world,
not whipped by the terrible, searing storm.

This is what I want to sing. Between the applauses, the century’s genius
curses your name. And another tower of Babel begins.
Oh! Never in the heavens will it touch the proud head;
It leaves not doubt, rather a sad, barren pain.

What haughty and ignorant pride with sage smoke
that insults your glory and the nothing here below stand-offish?
Denied, he toils; but only to know the reach always
that the effort is in vain that attempts to sweep you up in his action.

The so fertile field to offered science returns
without you in a desert. Only the man never progressed;

In vain he shouts and endeavors in his sterile pride
Breaking your altars and erasing your name among farces.

Oh God of mercy! Enlighten my mind a moment
Of the vast universe, you are life, you are glory, you are sun;
Give to the world the prestigious sight of your ineffable Being,
And achieve, under your protection, thrust your nascent splendor.

Your divine breath dissipates the ominous storm;
Do not leave this century to its blindness and terrible ambition.
Progress, hopes… everything! Ay! All of the new in the nothingness,
If you do not avoid, it will return to bury us! What horror!

My lyre divulges that the triumphs that some receive;
Their ancient greatness false and the lie of illusion;
Here they vegetate. More what they reach for? Only shadows;
Never managing to lift themselves up from the dust.

It is an inviolable law. Those that you, in your wisdom chose,
If at the weight they succumb to your noble and excelling mission,
They will be like the lost ship in the tempestuous sea,
It is a birth that falles in the waves from the winging north.
Happy he that is pious and obedient to your law as shown
And the fool does not affir,
That the gas and the phosphorus brighten more than your eternal blaze…

Head Over Heels with Life

10-17 Carranza
María Mercedes Carranza
Colombian
1945 – 2003

 

I will die mortal,
that is to say having passed
through this world
without breaking or staining it.
I didn’t invent a single vice,
but I tasted all the virtues:
I leased my soul
to hypocrisy: I have trafficked
with words,
with signs, with silence;
I surrendered to the lie:
I have hoped for hope,
I have loved love,
and one day I even pronounced
the words My Country;
I accepted the hoax:
I have been mother, citizen,
daughter, friend,
companion, lover;
I believed in the truth:
two and two are four,
María Mercedes ought to be born,
ought to grow, reproduce herself and die
and that’s what I’m doing.
I am the sampler of the 20th century.
And when fear arrives
I go to watch television
to have a dialogue with my lies.

Serenata

09-05 Florez
Alejandro A. Flórez Roa
Colombian
1866 – 1901

 

Put your head out the window
so that my soul doesn’t pain,
so that my soul doesn’t pain.

Look out as it comes
the fresh light tomorrow,
the fresh light tomorrow.

Appear, and if I look at you,
I’ll confess to you my ardent love,
in the rumors of a kiss
and in the swing of a sigh,
and in the swing of a sigh.

You will know that I keep a treasure
for you inside my chest,
for you inside my chest,

get up from your bed
and you will know how much I adore you,
and you will know how much I adore you.

Streets are deserted
clouds wander lost,
and stars are awake
and stars are awake.

This Rose Was a Witness

We present this work in honor of the 45th anniversary of the poet’s death.

07-11 Greiff
León de Greiff
Colombian
1895 – 1976

 

Of this, that if this was not love
No other love could be.
This rose was a witness
From when you gave yourself to me!
On that day, I don’t know when it was
(Well I do, but won’t say),
This rose was a witness.

Such lilting sweetness
Poured from your lips
This rose was a witness
Of your smiles of love!
For me it was nothing less
Than all I’d ever dreamt of,
This rose was a witness.

I drowned in your eyes
So deep like the night!
This rose was a witness;
My arms holding you tight,
Finding in your arm’s nest
Myself, then a warmer place…
This rose was a witness.

I kissed your fresh lips
Where happiness frolics!
This rose was a witness
Of your loving pain
As I joyfully made love
With you for the first time!

This rose was a witness.

This rose was a witness
Of this, that if this was not love
No other love could be.
This rose was a witness
From when you gave yourself to me!

On that day, I don’t know when it was
(Well I do, but won’t say),
This rose was a witness.

Country Girl, Don’t Stay Away

Luis Carlos Lopez
Colombian
1879 – 1950

 

Country girl, don’t stay away from the market,
you with the blond hair —cauliflower in mustard—
and those eyes, those eyes where wickedness makes its nest!…

Who wouldn’t run to watch you crossing the square!
Even the village priest, that frank and simple soul,
when you appear shakes off his lazy languor!…

You are an eclogue! ..and you sing, without singing, the seeds,
the furrows, the mills, the bubbling streams
where leaves float their yellow sadness…

What do you care if that crass, that potbellied banker,
and that spinster there —old and very ugly—
do not buy from you (slaves to their useless wealth!)

your pinks and lilies lovely flower of your village…
To the devil with them! To the garlic and
tomato with them! Let them eat rice and turtle-meat!

For you, country girl with your hat and skirt,
you, debonaire and sweet, riding by on your donkey,
give the wings and trills of a goldfinch to a crow!

The wings and trills!… And you take away the rose
of your face!… And you take away your malicious glance,
and your sweet smile which has said to me the thing
that to a glutton suggests the half-open pomegranate!…

Nocturne III

We present this work in honor of the 125th anniversary of the poet’s death.

José Asunción Silva
Colombian
1865 – 1896

 

One night
one night all full of murmurings, of perfumes and music of wings;
one night
in which fantastic fireflies burnt in the humid nuptial shadows,
slowly by my side, pressed altogether close, silent and pale,
as if a presentiment of infinite bitternesses
agitated you unto the most hidden fibers of your being,
along the flowering path which crosses the plain
you walked;
and the full moon
in the infinite and profound blue heavens scattered its white light;
and your shadow,
fine and languid,
and my shadow
projected by the rays of the moon,
upon the sorrowful sands
of the path, joined together;
and they became one,
and they became one,
and they became only one long shadow,
and they became only one long shadow,
and they became only one long shadow…

Tonight
alone; my soul
full of the infinite bitternesses and agonies of your death,
separated from you by time, by the tomb and by distance,
by the infinite blackness
where our voice cannot reach,
silent and alone
along the path I walked…
And the barking of dogs at the moon could be heard,
at the pale moon,
and the chirping
of the frogs…
I felt cold. It was the coldness that in your alcove
your cheeks and your temples and your adoréd hands possessed
within the snowy whiteness
of the mortuary sheets.
It was the coldness of the sepulcher, it was the ice of death,
it was the coldness of oblivion.
And my shadow,
projected by the rays of the moon,
walked alone,
walked alone,
walked alone along the solitary plain;
and your shadow, svelte and agile,
fine and languid,
as in that warm night of springtime death,
as in that night full of murmurings, of perfumes and music of wings,
approached and walked with mine,
approached and walked with mine,
approached and walked with mine… Oh, the shadows intertwined!
Oh, the corporeal shadows united with the shadows of the souls!
Oh, the seeking shadows in those nights of sorrows and of tears!

Sad Men Have No Dancing Partners

Piedad Bonnett
Colombian
b. 1951

 

Sad men frighten birds away.
Down to their pensive foreheads descend
the clouds
and dissolve into an opaque drizzle.
Flowers languish
in the gardens of the sad men.
Their precipices tempt death.
Whereas
the women that are within a woman
are all born at the same time
in front of the sad eyes of the sad men.
The woman vessel again opens her belly
and offers the sad man her redeeming milk.
The woman child kisses with fervor
his paternal, desolate widower’s hands.
And she who walks silently in the house
shines his black hours and patches up
all the holes in his breast.
There is another that lends to the sad man
her two hands as if they were wings.
But sad men are deaf to their music.
There is no lonelier woman then,
more sadly lonely,
than she who wants to love a sad man.

La Felicidad

Agripina Samper Agudelo
Colombian
1833 – 1892

 

I have children and a husband… I have more;
I have a loving and affectionate mother,
Brothers who love me and whom I love,
And instead of the false glitter of wealth
I have a modest and tranquil home

In another time my fervent heart
Dreamed restlessly, and I lived on the dream,
Fantastic chimeras night and day,
Delusions crowded in… I dreamed anyway
But then the horizon cleared,
The dark cloud turned to dawn,
Calm returned to my heart, and now
The present ensures my future

Alone at another time, like an errant bird
That crosses desert sands,
And after long mortal years of anxiety,
Arrived at the oasis it had faithfully sought;
Feeling myself finally free of fatigue,
And if I cast a look to the past,
It is only to bring it from burdensome effusion
To rest it on my present love.