XII

The most pitiful thing that I can imagine
is to see people well and able to travel about
in boats cars planes or trains or whatever
going toward their graves without grief or glory
in the very same spot they were born in
seeing the same old faces every day
taking in the same old scenery
as if they hadnít a penny to their names
when the truth is theyíre out there rolling in dough
I who have traveled the length and breadth of Chile
without depending on any source of income
beyond what I earn by the sweat of my brow
I ask myself why they donít go anywhere
is there anything more interesting in the world?
especially in a country like our own
world famous for its beauty
why only visit the office of the nitrate companies
where I used to work when I was young
before my poor old mother passed away
go immerse yourselves in the immensity of the desert
and drink in the marvels of its twilights
believe me youíre going to think
itís a real aurora borealis
or go pay a visit to the lakes
itís just a matter of finding a public phone
if you donít happen to have one in your home
and getting yourself a round-trip reservation
I canít understand why people donít travel
there must be personal reasons
or reasons connected with the Powers That Be
and in that case Iíll have to keep my mouth shut.                                    

en: Sermons and homilies of the Christ of Elqui . English translation by Sandra Reyes ; with a foreword by Miller Williams. Columbia, University of Missouri Press, 1984. 105 p

 

SISIB - Facultad de FilosofŪa y Humanidades - Universidad de Chile