Home > Poetry > Paris, October 1936
Translated from the Spanish by Daniel Bosch
Published: Mon Apr 15 1991
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
Paris, October 1936

Translated from the Spanish by Daniel Bosch

_  _I alone leave all this behind.
I leave this bench, I leave my pants,
the things I’ve done, my “big chance,”
my number split through side to side,
I alone leave it all behind.

_  _From the Champs Elysées or the turn
of the moon’s strange, narrow street,
my death leaves town, my cradle too,
and, alone, cut loose, others at every turn,
the one most like me completes his turn
and dispatches his shadows, singly, discrete.

_  _And I withdraw from it all, because all of it
remains to make up the excuse:
my shoe, its mud, its eyelet,
and even the crease in the elbow
of my own button-down shirt.

See what's inside AGNI 33

César Vallejo (1892–1938) was considered one of the greatest Peruvian poets of the twentieth century. He also wrote three novels, five plays, a children’s book, and several essay collections.

Vallejo’s collection Trilce was reviewed in AGNI 40 by Mark Wagner.

Daniel Bosch is director of the Writing & Publishing program at Walnut Hill, a high school for the arts in Natick, Massachusetts. (updated 7/2009)
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