Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Rafael Cadenas: Beloved Country

So much of you remains unopened, like music lost inside me.

Country to which I return every time I go broke.

Seal, celebration, vault of trunks.

You’ve never denied me your virgin milk.

My ebb, my secret source, my real counterpart.

I can’t determine the reach of your scent, but know you’ve been

there at all my starting points, wrapping me up,

thoughtful East, as in a ceremony.

Country where the lines of my hand lead, site where I’m someone else,

my wedding ring, you’re close to the core.


Translated by Forrest Gander


Cuánto tuyo no se desenvuelve como música perdida en mí.

País al que regreso cada vez que me he empobrecido.

Sello, fasto, bóveda de los cofres.

Nunca me has negado tu leche de virgen.

Mi refugio, mi fuente secreta, mi anverso real.

Ignoro el alcance de tu olor de especia, pero sé que has estado

en todos mis puntos de partida, envolviéndome,

Oriente solícito, como una ceremonia.

País a donde van las líneas de mi mano, lugar donde soy otro,

mi anillo de bodas. Seguramente estás cerca del centro.

Copyright 2021 Rafael Cadenas. Translation copyright 2021 Forrest Gander. From
The Land of Mild Light
by Rafael Cadenas. Ed. Nidia Hernandez (Arrowsmith, 2021).

Included in Vox Populi by permission of the publisher.

Rafael Cadenas (born 1930) is a Venezuelan poet and essayist. He taught for many years at the Central University of Venezuela. He received the National Prize for Literature (1985), Guadalajara’s International Book Fair prize of literature (2009) and the García Lorca Prize (2015).

Rafael Cadenas

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This entry was posted on July 20, 2021 by in Opinion Leaders, Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , , , .

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