There is a Country in the World

by Pedro Mir

Pedro Mir

"Oh, wretched ones!" cried the Syrian indignantly. "How can we imagine such an excess of our furious rage? I feel like taking three steps and squashing underfoot that whole anthill of ridiculous assassins . . . "
"Don't go to all that trouble," they answered. "They will see to their own downfall."
--Voltaire, Micromegas, VII

There is
a country in the world
right in the sun's path.
A native of the night.
in an improbable archipelago
of sugar and alcohol.
like a bat's wing
leaning on the breeze.
like the trace of a kiss on an elderly
or daylight on the roof tiles.
fruitful. Fluvial. And material. And yet
simply torrid, abused and kicked
like a young girl's hips.
Simply sad and oppressed.
Sincerely wild and uninhabited.
In truth.
With three million
life's sum total
and all the while
four cardinal cordilleras
and an immense bay and another immense bay,
three peninsulas with adjacent isles
and the wonder of vertical rivers
and earth beneath the trees and earth
beneath the rivers and at the edge of the forest
and at the foot of the hill and behind the horizon
and earth from the cock's crow
and earth beneath the galloping horses
and earth over the day, under the map, around
and underneath all the footprints and in the midst of love.
it is as I have said.
There is
a country in the world
simply wild and uninhabited.

Some love will think
that in this fluvial country in which earth blossoms,
and spills over and cracks like a bursting vein,
where day has its true victory,
the farmers will go amazed with their spades
to cultivate
their strip of ownership.

This love
will shatter its solitary innocence.
But no.

And it will think
that in the midst of this swollen land,
everywhere, where mountains roll through valleys
like fresh blue coins, where a forest
sleeps in each flower and in each flower life,
the farmers will walk along the sleeping ridge
to enjoy
with their own harvest.

This love
will bend its luminous arrow.
But no.
And it will think from
where the wind buffets the inmost clod of earth
and transforms it into flocks of peaks and plains,
where each hill seems a heart,
in each farmer spring upon spring will go
among the furrows
his land.
This love
will reach its flowering Age.
But no.

There is
a country in the world
where a farmer, cut down,
withered and bitter
dies and bites
his defeated dust,
lacking enough earth for his harsh death.
Listen closely! Lacking earth to go to sleep in.
It is a small and beleaguered country. Simply sad,
sad and grim, sad and bitter. I've already said it,
simply sad and oppressed.

And it's not that alone.
Men are needed
for so much land. That is, men are needed
to strip the virgin cordillera and make her a mother
after a few songs.
Mother of vegetables.
Mother of bread. Mother of the fence and the roof.
Caring and nocturnal mother at the bedside . . .
Men are needed to fell the trees and then
to raise them high against the sun and distance.
Against the laws of gravity.
And to take from them rest, rebellion and light.
And men to lie with the clay
and leave her giving birth to walls.
And men
to come to understand the river gods
and to raise them trembling in the nets.

And men on the coasts and in the icy
mountain passes
and in all desolation.
That's right, men are needed.
And a song is needed.

Emerging from the depths of the night
I have come to speak of a country.
It so happens
poor in population.
it's more than that

A native of the night, I am the...

Last updated October 23, 2022