César Dávila Andrade, Translated by Jonathan Simkins

Lost Creation

You hastened the green line
before a lounge of mountain lizards.
And like a rollicking beast
the cogwheel worked the world
of the chrysanthemums and the steps.
But Earth, subject to the variable
dawn of every barrier,
was lurching precipitously
to the side where its axis gave birth
like a one-legged creature.

Everything clamored to be reborn in the breath,
and You, you were already panting.
The Workforce was fondled
by the waves, and dissolved
in profusions of ferocious righteousness.

You descended from father to father
for millions of years, arriving
at last at the male of the Mother.
And you surveilled us astrologically
like an animal in search of its prey.



Precipitaste la línea verde
en presencia de las lagartijas del monte.
Y como bestia bulliciosa
la rueda dentada trabajó el mundo
de los crisantemos y los escalones.
Pero, la Tierra, sometida al cambio
de aurora en cada cerca,
se inclinaba peligrosamente
hacia el lado por donde paría su eje
como a una criatura de un solo muslo.

Todo clamaba ser recreado en el aliento,
y Tú, ya acezabas.
La Mano de Obra fue
palpada por las olas y disuelta
en miríadas de feroces rectitudes.

De padre en padre descendiste
durante millones de años, hasta
llegar al macho de la Madre.
Y nos espiaste astrológicamente
como un animal que busca su comida.

César Dávila Andrade (Cuenca, 1918—Caracas, 1967) was an Ecuadorian poet, short fiction writer, and essayist. He was known as El Fakir for both his physical appearance and the mystical and esoteric concerns of his work. His chronicle of atrocities and forced labor under Spanish rule, “Bulletin and Elegy of the Mitas,” is widely acclaimed, both critically and popularly, as a key text of 20th century Ecuadorian poetry. His telluric masterpiece, “Feral Cathedral” (1951), appeared almost contemporaneously with Pablo Neruda’s “The Heights of Macchu Picchu” in Canto General (1950). Had “Feral Cathedral” achieved more than scant diffusion on its publication in Venezuela, it may have garnered a share of the fame and accolades that Neruda’s poem has justly earned.

Jonathan Simkins is the translator of El Creacionismo by Vicente Huidobro (The Lune), The Treasure of the Llanganates by Paúl Puma (Pumaeditores), and Feral Cathedral: Selected Poetry of César Dávila Andrade (in progress). His translations have appeared in Gulf Coast, The Iowa Review, Nashville Review, Western Humanities Review, and others.

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    César Dávila Andrade, Translated by Jonathan Simkins
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