“TO MY BROTHER MIGUEL IN MEMORIAM” BY CÉSAR VALLEJO
César Vallejo is one of Peru’s most celebrated poets. Although he only published three books of poetry, Vallejo is considered one of the great poetic innovators of the 20th century. He studied literature at the University in Trujillo. The poet dropped out of the university at various points, opting to work at a sugar plantations where he witnessed the exploitation of workers, a sight that would influence his aesthetics, tone, subject and, ultimately, his politics.
Later, Vallejo moved to Lima, where he lived a Bohemian lifestyle, meeting important members of the intellectual left, and working as a tutor and then a professor. The poet suffered a number of calamities: He lost his teaching post after having refusing to marry a woman with whom he had an affair, his lover died of a failed abortion (which he had forced her to undergo), his mother died in 1920, and he was imprisoned for 105 days after returning home to Santiago de Chuco and igniting a scandal there.
After publishing Trilce in 1923, the poet, having lost another professorship in Lima, emigrated to Europe, where he lived until his death in Paris in 1938. He is interred in the Cimetière du Montparnasse.
To My Brother Miguel in Memoriam
Brother, today I sit on the brick bench of the house,
where you make a bottomless emptiness.
I remember we used to play at this hour, and mama
caressed us: “But, sons…”
Now I go hide
as before, from all evening
lectures, and I trust you not to give me away.
Through the parlor, the vestibule, the corridors.
Later, you hide, and I do not give you away.
I remember we made ourselves cry,
brother, from so much laughing.
Miguel, you went into hiding
one night in August, toward dawn,
but, instead of chuckling, you were sad.
And the twin heart of those dead evenings
grew annoyed at not finding you. And now
a shadow falls on my soul.
Listen, brother, don’t be late
coming out. All right? Mama might worry.
Information about Vallejo was extracted from famouspoetsandpoems.com.