NOCTURNE

  NOCTURNE

One night,
One night all full of murmurs, of perfumes and the brush of wings,
Within whose mellow nuptial glooms there shone fantastic fireflies,
Meekly at my side, slender, hushed and pale,
As though with infinite presentiment of woe
Your very depths of being were troubled,—
By the path of flowers that led across the plain,
You came treading,
And the rounded moon
Through heaven's blue and infinite profound was shedding whiteness.

And your shadow
Languid, delicate;
And my shadow,
Sketched by the white moonlight's ray
Upon the solemn sands
Of the path, were joined together,
As one together,
As one together,
As one together in a great single shadow,
As one together in a great single shadow,
As one together in a great single shadow.—

Another night
Alone—all my soul
Suffused with infinite woes and agonies of death,
Parted from you, by time, by the tomb and estrangement,
By the infinite gloom
Through which our voices fail to pierce,
Silent and lonely,
Along that road I journeyed—

And the dogs were heard barking at the moon,
At the pale-faced moon,
And the croaking
Of the frogs—

I was pierced with cold, such cold as on your bed
Came over your cheeks, your breasts, your adorable hands,
Between the snowy whiteness
Of your mortuary sheets;
It was the cold of the sepulchre, the chill of death,
The frost of nothingness.—
And my shadow
Sketched by the white moonlight's ray,
Went on alone,
Went on alone,
Went on alone over the solitary wastes;
And your shadow, slender and light,
Languid, delicate,
As on that soft night of your springtime death,
As on that night filled with murmurs, with perfumes and the brush of wings,
Came near and walked with me,
Came near and walked with me,
Came near and walked with me — Oh, shadows interlaced!—
Oh, shadows of the bodies joining in shadow of the souls!—
Oh, shadows running each to each in the nights of woes and tears!—


José Asunción Silva
Translated by Thomas Walsh


El libro de versos (1891-1896)  

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Original version

Incluido en Hispanic Anthology: Poems Translated from the Spanish by English and North American Poets. Ed. Thomas Walsh. New York. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1920.