My father’s sleeping. His august countenance
implies a gentle heart;
just now so sweet…
if there’s anything bitter in him, that will be me.
there’s loneliness in this household; praying;
and there’s no news of the children today.
My father wakes, auscultates
the flight into Egypt, the stanching goodbye.
He’s now so close;
if there’s anything distant in him, that will be me.
And my mother walks there in the orchards,
savoring a flavor already without flavor.
She’s now such softness,
such a wing, such an exit, such love.
There’s loneliness in the home without any racket,
without news, without green, without children.
And if anything’s broken this afternoon,
and falls and creaks,
it’s two roads, white, curved.
My heart moves along them on foot.
César Vallejo, “Los pasos lejanos”
Translation by Jack Hayes
Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
"Flucht nach Ägypten": Hans Sandreuter; oil on canvas; 1885.