Antonio Colinas: “Palace Steps”

Palace Steps

I’ve been living in this palace for such a long time.
I sleep on the steps, at the foot of the cypresses.
They say the golden sun bathes the columns
with tortoise-shell colors and flowers in bloom.
I own a single violin and a couple of rags.
I tell stories about death and everyone forsakes me.
Churches and palaces, forests and villages,
they all are mine, my music burns them to ashes.
I came from the sea. A man drowned me as a child.
My eyes were eaten up by a beautiful blue fish.
Scorpions now dwell in the sockets of my eyes.
One day I tried to hang myself from a thick apple tree.
Another day I ended up strangling a snake.
But I always find myself sleeping among the flowers,
drunk among the flowers, drowned in the music
that peels from the violin I carry in my arms.
I am like a strange bird that flutters among the roses.
My friend is the dew. I like to cast in the lake
diamonds, topazes, things that men possess.
Sometimes, when I’m crying, a child will approach
to kiss my wounds and rob me of my heart.

Antonio Colinas

Translated from Spanish by Paul Weinfield, © 2016

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