Man is a vain, variable and fluttering thing,,,
There are days when we’re so variable, so variable,
As the light blade of grass to the wind and chance.
Maybe glory smile to under other skies heavens,
For life is clear, billowy and open like the ocean.
And there are days when we’re so fertile, so fertile,
Like the fields in April, trembling with passion:
Under the generous influence of spiritual rains
The soul sending out bowers of illusion.
And there are days when we’re so placid, so placid…
Childhood at sunset, sapphire lagoons!
That a verse, a trill, a hill, a passing bird,
And even one’s own sorrows make us smile.
And there are days when we’re so sordid, so sordid,
Like the obscure entrails of obscure flint:
Night surprises us with its profuse lamps,
Measuring out Good and Evil with sparkling coins.
And there are days when we’re so wanton, so wanton
That women offer us their flesh in vain:
After girdling a waist and caressing a breast,
The roundness of a fruit makes us tremble again.
And there are days when we’re so gloomy, so gloomy,
Like in a gloomy night the crying of a pine grove.
The soul moans then with the pain of the world:
Perchance not even God himself can give us solace.
But there is also, oh Earth, a day… a day… a day
When we weigh anchor never to return…
A day when ineluctable winds blow by,
A day when no one can retain us any longer!
Porfirio Barba Jacob
Translator: Nicolás Suescún © 2006