Saturday, 8 July 2017

The Scowl of the Perpetual Dictator - Elvio Romero

What a difficult countenance!
What a complex countenance!
There’s something that draws me to his furrowed brow,
on his patriotic mission.

He was honest and meticulous,
honest in the smallest detail.
He didn’t forge his conquest with anarchistic exploits,
but he freed a nation.
Hard, dry, severe even with himself,
his only passion was an adolescent country.

He wasn't ambiguous; his title of Perpetual Dictator
he welcomed, valiantly,
with it he ruled as such, with ascetic vigor,
as a pure misogynist
who imposed with his pure passion of rule
the realization of his goal.

History has not yet declared
its final verdict
but his stature is beginning to grow
in direct proportion to the passing of the years

He wounded my blood, but I respect him:
when the goal is so lofty
it’s not worth insisting on private memories.

Dry, cold, implacable,
enigmatic and sad,
his hard brow reveals no evil character,
rather the impenetrable and stubborn will
to liberate the ground of the promised land
that is simply ours.

Elvio Romero (1926 - 2004) Paraguay
Translated by Ronald Haladyna
Source: Exotic Territory: A Bilingual Anthology of Contemporary Paraguayan Poetry, Edited by Ronald Haladyna, Trafford Publishing, 2011

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