Treasure Island

Jose Asuncion Silva

(1865 - 1896 / Colombia)

The Woodsmen Of San Juan


Until sunset!
From the dawn!
See the woodsmen of San Juan,
They want bread before it’s gone!
Those from Roque,
Feeling rocky,
Those from Rique,
Feeling tricky,
Those from Trique,
Sawing on!

Straddling his grandmother’s firm knees,
Jogging rhythmically, the boy rides horsey
Till both tremble, filled with exaltation;
The granny smiles with motherly affection,
But then a premonition flashes through
Her mind: fear for the grief and anguish
The coming days hold for her grandson.

See the woodsmen of San Juan,
They want bread before it’s gone.
Sss-sss-sawing,
Sawing on!

Those deep furrows tell the story
Of long suffering and unvoiced sorrows,
On her head time has left its snow,
On her brow, pain few have known;
Her eyes, clouded by the years,
Are turbid mirrors that oft retain
Images from lives forever gone.

Those from Roque, feeling rocky,
Sss-sss-sawing, sawing on!

Tomorrow, when the beloved grandmother
Sleeps deep beneath the earth, where others,
Too, dwell in the dark shadows
Of memory, sweetly will come,
Across eternity, in somber cadences,
Sad poems of childhood remembrances:
Her voice singing the old song!

Those from Rique, feeling tricky,
Sss-sss-sawing, sawing on!

Then, astride his grandmother’s weary knees,
Jogging rhythmically, the boy rides horsey
Till both tremble, filled with exaltation;
The granny smiles with motherly affection,
But then a premonition flashes through
Her mind: fear of the grief and anguish
The coming days hold for her grandson.

Until sunset!
From the dawn!
See the woodsmen of San Juan,
They want bread before it’s gone,
Those from Roque,
Feeling rocky,
Those from Rique,
Feeling tricky.
Sss-sss-sawing, sawing on!
Sss-sss-sawing, sawing on!

Submitted: Tuesday, April 06, 2010

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