the tall buildings
A song of my country
opens its heart and spills
its bricklayer lightning into the wind
to tell the musical universe
that hope hasn’t died
in the heart of the workers….
The blue gaze of the wind
daily lights the faces
of the simple bricklayer compañeros
who raise the song of my land
toward the vast flower of the smile
that space keeps lit.
The bricklayers who cry on earth
smile in the mouth of the wind….
I love the stature of enamored air
the bricklayers carry
under their mended clothes.
I love the forehead that hits the ground
without knowing how or where or why
or in what fatal moment its cry will break
on the wormy conscience of the boss,
nor why when bricklayers die
there is a pilgrimage of birds in mourning
to the cypress grove at the cementery entrance,
nor the hideous reason the poor are condemned
forever to be the dogs of the rich.
And I hate with unstoppable, ferocious rage
the attempt to break a man down to a job
just because he’s poor and hungry
and works as a mason wherever he can
for a few miserable centavos.
And I hate the time which bites into us hard,
because there are terribly bitter days,
days born beyond lamenting,
days of dark and evil sentiments,
days that fall with the masons
from the last storey of their lives
to the funereal touch of death.
That’s where my skeleton plays
an original and painful game,
because it’s my own forehead cracking
against the pressed teardrop of the pavement
and out of the wound the last warblings
of my blood make their escape in flight….
And yet I’m telling you, bricklayers,
Aerial compañeros of the stars,
fathers who crown the tallest
buildings with tenderness,
that soon you ‘ll know what it feels like
to grow and thrive among gardens.
- trans. by Stephen Kessler