Victor Jara

I come to attract your attention
With a singer's voice, from the highlands
To a man who no longer has hands
Who moves through the skies of his nation
Observing in his consternation
The flowers have started to wilt
The river is no longer filled
Deprived of spring seasons
By cunning and treason
Of tigers by whom he was killed

His guitar in the sky is still flying
Among flags of red which are flown
Above burning fields now sown
With a voice wrapped in the wind's crying
Wind which is clawing and trying
To search through the plaza's dark spaces
For signs of impure bloody traces
Of the knife that cut
Your strings leaving us
Forever your defiant graces

Sing, comrade, fly between cliffs
Over the snow-covered plain
Don't let your cold hand remain
Between rocks and the current's drifts
Because it's the good worker's gifts
That make morning out of the night
That open the window to light
Whose turn it is to die
For law protecting life
Of the people against soldiers' might

Brother I hear your song's trill
In the stadium's echoes alone
Ripples are spread from a stone
That nobody ever can kill
And I find myself asking you still
Did they know that they failed when they tried
Forever to cut short your flight
Not because of bad aim
But the people who came
To life at the moment you died

—Fernando Alegría

translated by María Isabel Silva Hurralde & William Gillespie



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