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   Children of the world,

if Spain falls — I mean, it's just a thought —

if her forearm

falls downward from the sky seized,

in a halter, by two terrestrial plates;

children, what an age of concave temples!

how early in the sun what I was telling you!

how quickly in your chest the ancient noise!

How old your 2 in the notebook!

   Children of the world, mother

Spain is with her belly on her back;

our teacher is with her ferules,

she appears as mother and teacher,

cross and wood, because she gave you height,

vertigo and division and addition, children;

she is with herself, legal parents!

   If she falls — I mean, it's just a thought — if Spain

falls, from the earth downward,

children, how you will stop growing!

how the year will punish the month!

how you will never have more than ten teeth,

how the diphthong will remain in downstroke, the gold star in tears!

How the little lamb will stay

tied by its leg to the great inkwell!

How you'll descend the steps of the alphabet

to the letter in which pain was born!


sons of fighters, meanwhile,

lower your voice, for right at this moment Spain is distributing

her energy among the animal kingdom,

little flowers, comets, and men.

Lower your voice, for she

shudders convulsively, not knowing

what to do, and she has in her hand

the talking skull, chattering away,

the skull, that one with the braid,

the skull, that one with life!

   Lower your voice, I tell you;

lower your voice, the song of the syllables, the wail

of matter and the faint murmur of the pyramids, and even

that of your temples which walk with two stones!

Lower your breath, and if

the forearm comes down,

if the ferules sound, if it is night,

if the sky fits between two terrestrial limbos,

if there is noise in the creaking of doors,

if I am late,

if you do not see anyone, if the blunt pencils

frighten you, if mother

Spain falls — I mean, it's just a thought —

go out, children of the world, go look for her!...

Spain, Take This Cup From Me

Clayton Eshleman, translation from
the Spanish written by Cesar Vallejo

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