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Dreaming on the Malecon

My City

I listen to you, my city, this night singing to me

the sincere canticle of the infinite village,

the free melody of things courtly and recently departed,

as from the sea your stones rise sleepily

then blaze up before the eyes of tranquil fruitmongers.

 

Where we pluck so often at the obscure happiness,

at the humid form--a neighbourhood in blue--

the moist coral that makes your coast, the sword

of fate falling on the shoulders of your mothers,

trembling still in the silent cathedra of the impossible:

 

At your shade, the air of a dazzled fish.

I have heard you suffer, vegetative and like iron,

in your astral and heroic timbers, booming below the water.

I remember your clouds groaning like ropes.

I remember the pebble, the moon, the sombrero of the fishermen.

 

Have I forgotten you, odor of my own, mouth of the world,

dictating to me the voices that set up my fingers,

my years, my path, my slow coronation of transitory blindness?

Ay! Forgot? But emit that bitter, brief and eternal sonic

uproar I now orchestrate between the waves.

 

Cinto Vitier. Poesía . Ed. Unión, Havana: 1997 (trans. Gethin James)