Under the Poplars
Like priestly poets bound in chains,
the poplars of blood have fallen asleep.
At sunset, Bethlehem’s flocks of sheep
chew their arias of grass on sloping plains.
The ancient shepherd, who shivers and sighs
in the final martyrdoms of the sun,
catches the purebred stars as they run
and gathers them up in his Easter eyes.
Formed in his orphanhood, he starts to descend
to the praying fields, carrying rumors of the end;
and the sheep-bells are sprinkled with night.
But the blue carved in iron does not die
and on it, pupils hidden from sight,
a dog howls its pitiful, pastoral cry.
César VallejoTranslated from Spanish by Paul Weinfield, © 2013