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I could cry at dawn to see you smile.
I could plead for a greeting from the specter that solemnly treks back to the Stone Age.
You know well that I will pass by you like a reflection going from forest to forest. What more do you want?
Two entwined bodies domesticate eternity.
And it is imperative to get on your knees.
Then the castle transforms into a flower; the eye transforms into a river full of boats and all kinds of fish.
The piano transforms into a mountain, the sea into a little artichoke that revolves like a windmill.
The nerves transform into a tremoring tree, whose tremors disseminate through the night, here and there, until infinity.
The brain rolls down the body not knowing where it goes. At the same time, the forests flee in a stampede.
The scourging of bones begins with a sack of clouds on their backs, descending from the peak of the silent womb, mournful as a witch’s bird, as a flower threatened in the night.
Made ready by solitude, everything is possible. Of course, hanging from every lamp a woman sways through the air we breathe. A music exudes from every painting on the wall, for we know that every landscape is a musical instrument. And behind every door an anxious skeleton is waiting.
The night, completely abandoned, cries in its retreat. The night that listened to the sound of your heart. The night—you remember? When the curtains assumed the shape of ears, the shape of eyelids with lashes of silence. Then I bent over you as if over a dissecting table, and, sinking my lips into you, looked at you; your womb resembled an open wound and your eyes the end of the world.
Dragged along by solitude, Isolde, we plunged into the night that was waiting right on our doorstep.
* * *
We have come a long way. The searchlights desperately scanned the night: they raced back and forth, crossed at infinity, forever greeting and biding each other farewell. Suddenly a hand emerged from the middle of the sky, a hand like a castaway; it clasped in its fingers the head of a bird that fell slowly to the earth, not even a protest on its lips.
We were at the sea’s edge. A surging wave caught the dead bird and carried it off.
The mountain on the shore gave a little shiver, then its whale-like back spouted a jet of fresh, translucent water while a wave passed over a beacon that seemed to be inside a far off vitrine.
Thus, the hour of serenity returned, brought by the hand of a comet that no one knew how to christen and that children called, for some odd reason, Eloísa’s Hair.
It can still be seen at night, the eye that floats on the sea like a desolate almond.
It can still be seen, the boat passing through the air with its trawl nets extended.
It can still be seen, the drowned man, his luminous body floating between two waters.
It can still be seen, the sailboat like a cross on its interminable Golgotha.
It can still be seen, the buccaneers clinging to the floating keel and the captain hanging from the main-mast on the high seas.
It can still be seen in the flash of lightning, the pale helmsman with his beard to the wind.
It can still be seen in the flash of lightning, the dead woman, naked, with her bloated breasts.
It can still be seen in the flash of lightning, the horse of abduction that disappears in the distance.
It can still be seen in moonlit nights, the floating hand.
But the catch of mermaids with their hair ensnared in the nets hasn’t been seen again and we have waited in vain.
We have greeted all the waves; we have watched attentively; we have waved our hats and handkerchiefs; we have shot dice for their breasts on the deck of thousands of ships. It’s all useless. Dawn’s accomplices heard the flowers on their voyage, heard the progression of the polar light and, once again, the march of the hero towards the Stone Age.
But no one will see the mermaids’ torment.
In vain, you point your fingers at every wrinkle of the sea or every cloud that trembles.
I tell you, she is more hidden than the night.
A bird solitary as the sea slowly flies off, perhaps on account of your screams.
It slowly flies off, I say, to the marvels of its own slumber. It flies off, taking away the sense of the evening.
It is not for you, the panorama of the nascent secret. What do you know of encounters in eternity?
I tell you again: she is more hidden than the night at noon.
We uselessly prepare for the propitious exploration. Nor towards the indifferent fish barely illumed by the sea’s internal lights, barely swaying from silence or solitude.
© Fundación Vicente Huidobro
Vicente Huidobro (1893–1948) is one of the so-called “big four” of Chilean poetry, which also includes Pablo de Rokha and Nobel laureates Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda. Author of over thirty books, he is one of the most important figures of the Latin American avant-garde.
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