The Pilgrim 

by Nicanor Parra

Your attention, ladies and gentleman, your attention for one second:
Turn your heads for a moment to this part of the republic.
Forget for one night your personal affairs,
Let pleasure and pain wait at the door:
Hear the voice from this part of the republic.
Your attention, ladies and gentlemen! Your attention for one second!
A soul that has been bottled up for years
In a sort of sexual and intellectual hole,
Feeding itself most inadequately through the nose,
Yearns to be heard.
I’d like to figure out a few things,
I need a little light, the garden’s swarming with flies,
My mind’s a disaster,
I work things out in my own peculiar way,
As I say these words I see a bicycle leaning against a wall,
I see a bridge
And the official car disappearing between buildings.

You part your hair, that’s true, you walk in the public parks,
Under your skins you have other skins,
You have a seventh sense
Which lets you in and out automatically.
But I’m a child calling for its mother from behind rocks,
I’m a pilgrim who makes stones jump high as his nose,
A tree crying out to be smothered in leaves.

Translated by Mariela Griffor

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