HECES
(Cesar Vallejo)

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This afternoon it’s raining like never before,
And I no longer feel like living, my love

This afternoon is sweet. Why shouldn’t it be?
It is dressed in grace and pain. It is dressed as woman
This afternoon in Lima it’s raining. And I remember
The cruel caverns of my ingratitude
A block of ice above your poppy flower
Stronger than your “Don’t be like that!”

My violent black blooms
And the savage stone, and frozen distances.
And your silent dignity
Will put an end with burning oils

That’s why this afternoon, I go
With this owl, with this heart

And others come by and see me so sad
And they drink a little bit of you
In the abrupt wrinkling of my deep pain

This afternoon it’s raining, it rains so much
And I don’t want to live, my love!

Esta tarde llueve, como nunca; y no
Tengo ganas de vivir, corazón.
Esta tarde es dulce. Por qué no ha de ser?
Viste gracia y pena; viste de mujer.
Esta tarde en Lima llueve. Y yo recuerdo
Las cavernas crueles de mi ingratitud;
Mi bloque de hielo sobre su amapola,
Más fuerte que su “No seas así!”
Mis violentas flores negras, y bárbara
Y enorme pedrada; y el trecho glacial.
Y pondrá el silencio de su dignidad
Con óleos quemantes el punto final.
Por eso esta tarde, como nunca, voy
Con este búho, con este corazón.
Y otras pasan; y viéndome tan triste;
Toman un poquito de ti
En la abrupta arruga de mi hondo dolor
Esta tarde llueve, llueve mucho. ¡Y no
Tengo ganas de vivir, corazón!

description:
“Heces” is the sediment, the dregs of wine. It was written in Lima during the winter of 1918, it’s from the book The Black Heralds, (1919) from the section called “From the Earth.”

...Nothing is as melancholy as Lima in winter, nothing as desolate as this eternal gray...

The melody of the song came to me from the Cuban musician Noel Nicola in 1973 and for many years the musicians who have worked with me have ripened it, arranging the version I sing today.