Under the Poplars

By César Vallejo 1892–1938 Cesar Vallejo

Translated By Rebecca Seiferle

for Jose Eulogio Garrido

Like priestly imprisoned poets,         
the poplars of blood have fallen asleep.
On the hills, the flocks of Bethlehem                  
chew arias of grass at sunset.                  

      The ancient shepherd, who shivers         
at the last martyrdoms of light,                  
in his Easter eyes has caught                           
a purebred flock of stars.                           

      Formed in orphanhood, he goes down         
with rumors of burial to the praying field,         
and the sheep bells are seasoned with shadow.

      It survives, the blue warped         
In iron, and on it, pupils shrouded,                  
A dog etches its pastoral howl.

"Under the Poplars," from The Black Heralds (2003) by César Vallejo and translated by Rebecca Seiferle, appears courtesy of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.

Source: The Black Heralds (2003)

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Poet César Vallejo 1892–1938

POET’S REGION Latin America