>, Poetry, Translation>Javier Etchevarren, Four Poems

Javier Etchevarren, Four Poems

Translated by Jesse Lee Kercheval

El niño que dibuja

Hojas en blanco,
lápices de colores,
algunas horas ensimismado
y muchos cuadernos repletos de dibujos.

Historias completas de invasiones extraterrestres,
héroes musculosos decapitando villanos,
animales salvajes devorando humanos,
paisajes imposibles.

Tan bien dibujaba el niño
que algunos vecinos huyeron de los extraterrestres,
que algunos cuerpos aparecieron decapitados
o devorados por fieras indomables
en lugares imposibles.

Aterrado por su poder
ya no dibuja el niño
pero escribe su fábula
el hombre desconsolado.

The Boy Who Draws

Blank pages,
colored pencils,
long hours daydreaming
and many notebooks full of drawings.

Complete histories of extraterrestrial invasions,
muscled heroes decapitating villains,
wild animals devouring humans,
impossible landscapes.

The boy drew so well
some of the neighbors fled the extraterrestrials,
some corpses appeared decapitated
or devoured by untamable beasts
in impossible places.

Terrified by his power
now the boy does not draw
but writes his fable,
The Inconsolable Man.

El palacio

Una pradera, un monte,
un galpón y una enredadera.
Todo eso en el fondo enorme
de aquella casa.
También el Cerro
de Montevideo.
Ese volcán que nunca hizo erupción.

Árboles que trepar.
Construcciones que trepar.
Una azotea desde donde,
con las nubes más cerca,
podía descifrar en ellas
la aventura del cielo.

En los rincones más oscuros:
combate de insectos,
arañas venenosas,
millones de hormigas.
Hubo un par de perros y hasta un cuy.
Ah, varios gatos muertos.

Podía jugar a la pelota solo,
rebotándola contra la pared.
Siempre ganaba.

No queda nada
de aquel palacio.
El volcán hizo erupción.

The Palace

A meadow, a hill,
a shed and a tangle of vine.
All this in the enormous back garden
of that house.
Also, the Cerro
de Montevideo,
that volcano that never erupted.

Trees to be climbed.
Buildings to be climbed.
A roof from which,
with the clouds closer,
I was able to decipher
the adventure of the sky.

In the darkest corners:
the battle of insects,
poisonous spiders,
millions of ants.
There were a pair of dogs and a guinea pig.
Ah, and various dead cats.

I was able to play alone with the ball
bouncing it off the wall.
I always won.

Now nothing is left
of that palace.
The volcano erupted.

La muerte de la cerdo

En el fondo del almacén vivía un cerdo.
Yo jugaba con él,
con su gracioso hocico,
con sus patas cortas
a pesar de las cuales nunca lograba atraparlo
cuando jugábamos a perseguirnos.

Una mañana, sobresaltado,
escuché los gritos desesperados de mi amigo.
Eran los gritos de un niño horrorizado.

Corrí hacia el fondo del almacén.
Le hundían un cuchillo en el corazón.
Grité desesperadamente.
Eran los gritos de un niño horrorizado.

Alguien tuvo que sujetarme
porque quise detener con violencia la masacre.

Algún día vengaré
la muerte de aquel cerdo.

The Death of the Pig

In the yard behind the grocery, lived a pig.
I played with him,
with his graceful snout.
In spite of his short legs
I could never catch him
when we played chase.

One morning, startled,
I heard the desperate cries of my friend.
They were the screams of a terrified child.

I ran toward the yard.
They sunk a knife in his heart.
I cried out, desperate.
They were the screams of a terrified child.

Someone had to hold me
because I wanted, violently, to stop that massacre.

One day I will avenge
the death of that pig.

La muerte de un pájaro

Un rifle prestado.
Apunta lentamente.
Dispara sin miedo.
Ha muerto el pájaro.
Ha muerto el niño.
Su inocencia.

The Death of a Bird

A borrowed rifle.
Aimed slowly.
Fired without fear.
The bird has died.
The boy has died.
His innocence.


Javier EtchevarrenJavier Etchevarren was born in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1979. He is the author of the poetry books Desidia (Yaugarú, 2009) and Fábula de un hombre desconsolado (Yaugarú, 2014). His poems will appear in América invertida: An Anthology of Emerging Uruguayan Poets which is forthcoming from the University of New Mexico Press. His poems appeared or are forthcoming in Palabras errantes, American Literary Review, Blackbird, Notre Dame Review, the Colorado Review and Waxwing. His work has been featured twice on Poetry Daily. Fábula de un hombre desconsolado / Fable of an Inconsolable Man, translations by Jesse Lee Kercheval, is forthcoming from Action Books.

Kercheval-author-photo-colorJesse Lee Kercheval is a poet, fiction writer and translator, specializing in Uruguayan poetry. Her latest translations include Invisible Bridge/ El puente invisible: Selected Poems of Circe Maia (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015) and Fábula de un hombre desconsolado / Fable of an Inconsolable Man by Javier Etchevarren, which is forthcoming from Action Books.

2016-12-21T06:15:40+00:00