I am going to speak of hope
I don’t suffer this pain as César Vallejo. I don’t grieve now as an artist, as a man or even as a simple living being. I don’t suffer this pain as a catholic, or a muslim, or an atheist. Today I only suffer. If I weren’t called César Vallejo, I’d still suffer this same pain. If I weren’t an artist, I’d still suffer with it. If I weren’t a man or even a living being, I’d still suffer with it. If I weren’t a catholic, an atheist or a muslim, I’d still suffer with it. Today I suffer from further down. Today I only suffer.
I grieve now without explanations. My pain’s so deep it has neither a cause nor the lack of a cause. What would its cause be? Where is that thing of such importance it might leave off being the cause? Nothing is its cause; nothing has been able to leave off being its cause. From what has this pain been born, by itself? My pain’s from the north wind & the south wind, like neutered eggs that some rare birds lay conceived from the wind. If my bride were dead, my pain would be the same. If they’d sliced my throat to the root, my pain would be the same. If life were, in short, some other way, my pain would be the same. Today I suffer from higher up. Today I only suffer.
I look at the hungry man’s pain & see that his hunger walks so far from my pain that if I starved myself to death, a blade of grass would turn up at my grave at least. The same with the lover. How generative his blood is, unlike mine without spring or consummation.
I used to believe that all things in the universe were, inevitably, fathers or sons. But here’s my pain today, neither father nor son. It lacks a back for nightfall, just as it has too much chest for daybreak & if they put it in a bright room, it wouldn’t cast a shadow. Today I suffer, come what may. Today I only suffer.
César Vallejo, “Voy a hablar de la esperanza”
Translation by Jack Hayes
Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
“Schieles Wohnzimmer in Neulengbach” (“Schiele's Room in Neulengbach”): Egon Schiele. oil on panel; 1911.