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Autochthonous Tercet  (1918) 
by César Vallejo, translated from Spanish by Wikisource
From the collection The Black Heralds (Los heraldos negros)


The laboring fist softens,
and in a cross in every lip its refined.
It’s festive! The rhythm of the plough flies;
and each cowbell is a bronze precenter.

The roughness is sharpened. The escarcela speaks...
In the indigenous veins there sparkles
a yaravi of blood filtering through
the pupil in sunny nostalgias.

The Inca women, sighing deeply,
as in strange secular icons,
rosarize a symbol in their turns.

The Apostle later shines on his throne;
and he is, amidst incense, candles and chants,
the modern sun god for the field-laborer.


The sad Indian throws a staff in the air.
The crowd goes towards the radiant altar.
Twilight’s eye ceases
to see the burning-alive of the village.

The shepherdess dresses in wool and sandals
with folds of candor in her attire;
and in her humility of heroic and sad wool
her unbroken white heart is a snowflake.

Amidst music, fireworks,
an accordion is playing! Some shopkeeper
makes his sales pitch in the wind: “Nothing like it!”

The sparks, floating prettily, graciously,
are golden audacious wheat that the farmer
sows in the skies and in the stars.


Sunrise. The chicha in the end breaks
into sobs, lusts, fights;
Through odors of urea and pepper
a drunkard sketches a thousand scrawls as he walks.

“The morning that I go...” laments to himself
a rural Romeo sings haltingly.
Morning soup is now for sale;
and there arises an appetizing clamor of plates.

Three women pass by..., a layabout whistles... Far off
the river goes on drunk and singing and crying
prehistories of water, olden times.

And at the sound of a Tayanga box,
as if it were initiating a blue huaino, the Dawn
lifts her skirts above her saffron calves.

Copyright.svg PD-icon.svg This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1924.

The author died in 1938, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.


This work is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license, which allows free use, distribution, and creation of derivatives, so long as the license is unchanged and clearly noted, and the original author is attributed.