“Rough Song”

A Poem by Blanca Varela

October 22, 2020  By Blanca Varela

and suddenly life
on my plate of poverty
a thin slice of celestial pork
here on my plate

Article continues below

observe me
observe yourself
or kill a fly unmaliciously
annihilate the light
or create it

create it
like one who opens her eyes and chooses
overflowing heavens
on the empty plate

rubens onions tears
more rubens more onions
more tears

so many stories
indigestible black miracles
and the star in the east

Article continues below

and the bone of love
so gnawed and so hard
shining on another plate

this hunger itself
it is the urge of the soul
which is the body

it is the rose of grease
that ages
in its heaven of flesh

mea culpa the cloudy eye
mea culpa the black morsel
mea culpa divine nausea

there is no other here
on this empty plate
but me
devouring my eyes
and yours

Article continues below


Blanca Varela, Rough Song

From Blanca Varela’s Rough Song, recently published by The Song Cave. Poem © the Estate of Blanca Varela, 2020; Translation © Carlos Lara, 2020.

Blanca Varela
Blanca Varela
Blanca Varela (1926-2009) was born in Lima, Peru, in 1926. Considered one of Peru's greatest poets, as well as the first woman to win the Federico Garc-a Lorca International Poetry Prize, she has not been translated in English until now. The Mexican Nobel Laureate Octavio Paz praised her poetry and identified one of her gifts as knowing when to be silent if it is time not to write. Carlos Lara (translator) is the co-author of The Audiographic As Data. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two cats.

More Story
Restoring the World’s Most Iconic Fighter Plane We Have Ways of Making You Talk is a weekly show exploring the war in close up, hosted by comedian Al Murray and historian...

Become a Lit Hub Supporting Member: Because Books Matter

For the past decade, Literary Hub has brought you the best of the book world for free—no paywall. But our future relies on you. In return for a donation, you’ll get an ad-free reading experience, exclusive editors’ picks, book giveaways, and our coveted Joan Didion Lit Hub tote bag. Most importantly, you’ll keep independent book coverage alive and thriving on the internet.