An international online magazine that publishes Surrealist poetry in English.
Ascent of the Depths
Maybe because these recurring dreams pull out of the void the part of me that I still don't possess,
I can't realize the unity of my self even if it costs me my own destiny.
My head had found an escape route to the joyful mud, but cruel dreams decapitate me.
And the soft wax is trembling, searching in vain for its shape by the fire.
This is the sad testimony of one who can't carve his own pure shapes
Because his being of dangers and cruel jolts blocks him.
After singing I feel that fear is the surest measure of the forehead,
Yes, my harps have grown, but each night carries away the most mysterious part of my soul.
Being of mine, your excesses consume me whenever I approach you with my destitute awakening.
Oh, if you could just rest like this already surrendered light revealed by a blacksmith's hands!
The poet forgets his mother tongue when digging undermines his soul!
Desperate, I switch off my saint's halo, trying to discover my own laws.
Maybe this mirror with its small and ghostly waters returned to me the face I had most lost,
But I'm exhausted and my sated eyes fall, like stones bled completely dry.
I can see the day blossom in me only by the silt that the dream deposits throughout my body.
Who will placate my hundred statues, driven crazy, detaching themselves from the light?
How warm the darkness feels, while I pant in my most intimate eclipse, losing the omen,
Oh, now my heart will be capable of denying its small chrysalis
And the terrifying wings that appear, emerging from the void.
Just the way it was when things began, when the heart didn't live according to time and felt no need for space
When it existed without a chest or the size of its own death, before a current of fear was the measure of life.
With a blood that's still virgin, and no sparks yet, I offer a song for the heights of its abyss.
There, with large and terrible lips, I glimpse the key to so many lost echoes
While a dark wine breaks my seals, instructing me about visions.
I dissolve my eyes in the waters, my ears like broken chunks of clay—I close them.
Then I scatter this treacherous shadow, far from the pink day, while my temples gnaw.
In the dream, I sing, moving my soul right and left.
Ravenous dreams burning hot: my own ashes keep this white tongue
Aflame, as it rolls and rolls in sweet couplets.
Finally I pry open the urn of my memories, and discover the wing of a blind beast,
And I find this life, the one filtered through my sleeping martyrs.
A root from the world sips and sips the oh so fatal pressure of two images in one second
Until both temples yield, but still they don't ferment
and night unearths all the minerals in my forehead.
Endowing My Life with an Agonizing Hope
Smear my hands pierced by a
nail of solid gold
hands hanging down from that man
I am hungry
hungry for the dream that flows in the
tiniest grain of salt
My whole body sticky
with flies dirty and golden
Lying darkly, eyelids cascading towards terrors
maybe at the end of the world, with these two sleepless hands
between the wind that whisked through me with its remnants of sky.
So I had no new ideas, in an expanse of white
my temples lost like crowns drained of their blood
and my bones shining like sacred bronze sculptures.
I touched the summit, source of the softly flowing daybreak
while the sea in all its spellbinding order showed through my hands.
It was the purest path and it was already solid light
by sleeping waters, slipping toward my origins
breaking my white skin, with only its oils shining.
My morning being was born, maybe from earth or sky
I had waited so long, and those steps of shadows
turned off my ears, humming with the nests of winds.
For the first time, I became more lucid, but without my tongue or its echoes
and without tears
Translated from the Spanish by Eugenio Polisky and Zack Rogow
Humberto Díaz-Casanueva (1907–1992) was a Chilean poet, diplomat, educator, and political activist. When he was in his twenties, Díaz-Casanueva's leadership in Chile's teachers' union put him in conflict with the country's government, then a dictatorship. He went into exile, not for the last time. Díaz-Casanueva traveled to Germany to study under the philosopher Martin Heidegger. Later in life, the poet became a diplomat, serving most notably as Chile's ambassador to the United Nations under the democratically elected socialist government of Salvador Allende. In 1971, Díaz-Casanueva received Chile's National Prize for Literature.