from The Complete Poetry: A Bilingual Edition, by César Vallejo.
For several days, I have felt an exuberant, political need
to love, to kiss affection on its two cheeks,
and I have felt from afar a demonstrative
desire, another desire to love, willingly or by force,
whoever hates me, whoever rips up his paper, a little boy,
the woman who cries for the man who was crying,
the king of wine, the slave of water,
whoever hid in his wrath,
whoever sweats, whoever passes, whoever shakes his person in my soul.
And I want, therefore, to adjust
the braid of whoever talks to me; the hair of the soldier;
the light of the great one; the greatness of the little one.
I want to iron directly
a handkerchief for whoever is unable to cry
and, when I am sad or happiness hurts me,
to mend the children and the geniuses.
I want to help the good one become a little bit bad
and I badly need to be seated
on the right-hand of the left-handed, and to respond to the mute,
trying to be useful to him as
I can, and also I want very much
to wash the lame man’s foot,
and to help the nearby one-eyed man sleep.