From Clayton Eshleman, “A Translation Memoir,” in Vallejo, The Complete Poetry (California 2007) 679:
I also began to have violent and morbid fantasies that seemed provoked by the combination of translating and writing. More and more I felt that I was struggling with a man as well as a text, and that this struggle was a matter of my becoming or failing to become a poet. The man I was struggling with did not want his words changed from one language to another. I also realized that in working on Vallejo’s Poemas humanos I had ceased to be what I was before coming to Kyoto, that I now had a glimpse of another life, a life I was to create for myself, and that this other man I was struggling with was also the old Clayton who was resisting change. The old Clayton wanted to continue living in his white Presbyterian world of “light” – where man is associated with day / clarity / good and woman with night / opaqueness / bad. The darkness that was beginning to spread through my sensibility could be viewed as the breaking up of the belief in male supremacy that had generated much of that “light.”
“The darkness beginning to spread through my sensibility.” The visit from Nonbeing.
Vallejo, “Encaje de fiebre,” in Los heraldos negros (1919):
Por los cuadros de santos en el muro colgados
mis pupilas arrastran un ¡ay! de anochecer;
y en un temblor de fiebre, con los brazos cruzados,
mi ser recibe vaga visita del Noser.
Una mosca llorona en los muebles cansados
yo no sé qué leyenda fatal quiere verter:
una ilusión de Orientes que fugan asaltados;
un nido azul de alondras que mueren al nacer.
En un sillón antiguo sentado está mi padre.
Como una dolorosa, entra y sale mi madre.
Y al verlos siento un algo que no quiere partir.
Porque antes de la oblea que es hostia hecha de Ciencia,
está la hostia, oblea hecha de Providencia.
Y la visita nace, me ayuda a bien vivir…….
“Fever Lace,” translated by Clayton Eshleman:
Through the pictures of saints hung on the wall
my eyeballs drag an ay! of nightfall;
and in a fever shudder, arms crossed,
my being receives a nebulous visit from Nonbeing.
A crying fly on the tired furniture
wants to spill I do not know what ghastly legend:
an illusion of Orients that flee assaulted;
a blue nest of skylarks that die while being born.
An old armchair holds my father.
Like Our Lady of Sorrows my mother comes and goes.
Seeing them I feel something that does not want to go away.
Because before the wafer, host made of Science,
there is the Host, wafer made of Providence.
And the visit is born, it helps me to live right…….