Memory from Childhood

    Memory from Childhood

A chilly and overcast afternoon
in winter. The students
are studying. Steady boredom
of raindrops across the windowpanes.

It is time for class. In a poster
Cain is shown running
away, and Abel dead,
not far from a red spot.

The teacher, with a voice husky and hollow,
is thundering. He is an old man badly dressed
withered and dried up,
who is holding a book in his hand.

And the whole children’s choir
is singing its lesson:
one thousand times one hundred is one hundred thousand
one thousand times one thousand is one million

A chilly and overcast afternoon
in winter. The students
are studying. Steady boredom
of raindrops across the window panes.

Antonio Machado
Translator: Robert Bly


Soledades (1899-1907)  
Original version

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