The Man Who Tortures Himself
To J. G. F.
I shall strike you without anger And without hate, like a butcher, As Moses struck the rock! And from your eyelids I shall make The waters of suffering gush forth To inundate my Sahara. My desire swollen with hope Will float upon your salty tears Like a vessel which puts to sea, And in my heart that they'll make drunk Your beloved sobs will resound Like a drum beating the charge! Am I not a discord In the heavenly symphony, Thanks to voracious Irony Who shakes me and who bites me? She's in my voice, the termagant! All my blood is her black poison! I am the sinister mirror In which the vixen looks. I am the wound and the dagger! I am the blow and the cheek! I am the members and the wheel, Victim and executioner! I'm the vampire of my own heart - One of those utter derelicts Condemned to eternal laughter, But who can no longer smile! Translated by - William Aggeler L'Heautontimouroménos I'll strike thee without enmity nor wrath, like butchers at the block, like Moses when he smote the rock! I'll make those eyelids gush for me with springs of suffering, whose flow shall slake the desert of my thirst; - a salt flood, where my lust accurst, with Hope to plump her sail, shall go as from the port a pitching barge, and in my heart they satiate thy sobs I love shall fulminate loud as a drum that beats a charge! for am I not a clashing chord in all Thy heavenly symphony, thanks to this vulture Irony that shakes and bites me always, Lord? she's in my voice, the screaming elf! my poisoned blood came all from her! I am the mirror sinister in which the vixen sees herself! I am the wound and I the knife! I am the blow I give, and feel! I am the broken limbs, the wheel, the hangman and the strangled life! I am my heart's own vampire, for God has forsaken me, and men, these lips can never smile again, but laugh they must, and evermore! Translated by - Lewis Piaget Shanks Heautontimoroumenos I'd slip it to you Without the least qualm or queasiness Like a butcher slitting the throat of a chimp Or Bunuel turning the bourgeois into a limp gallery Of frustrated meat. What, the waters of suffering to Slake the Saharas of my desire? Your few tears won't ever sell In the dead and tedious ocean That swims through my heart Of war. I was born into this dissonant symphony To be a puncturing chord among the factions, Spite has been my spirit's Unadministerable poison And I am locked in the show That wants most of all To have itself. There is an inconsolable ache In this member's voice, a lust for unhappeningness In Borges' library or endlessly branching plot trees Excited testaments of paper. I can be the wound And simultaneously the knife Be the active thought And a catacomb piled with unidentifiable bones The Latin American Terrorist incarcerated And the sadistic attaching Electrodes to his balls. I am the Judas who plays both parts And whom all try to revile A vampire of my own blood Condemned to a hysterical laugh And ferocious smile. Translated by - Will Schmitz Heautontimoroumenos The Man Who Tortures Himself I shall cleave without scrape or shock, And, like a butcher, without hate, Like Moses, when he struck the rock. From your eyes I shall generate Waters of woe throughout the years To quench my fierce Sahara fires, Swollen with vast hope, my desires Shall float upon your bitter tears Like a proud vessel, sailing large; And in my heart, drunk at the sound, Your cherished sobbing shall resound Like drums beating the long lost charge. Am I not a discordant note In the celestial symphony, Thanks to voracious Irony Who shakes and bites me at the throat? She's in my voice, the scold; her black Poison is all my blood, alas! I am the direful looking glass Which flashes her reflection back. I am the wound, the knives that strike, The blows that crush, the head that reels, I am wrenched limbs and grinding wheels, Victim and hangman, as you like! Vampire of my own heart, meanwhile, A derelict, I am of those Doomed to eternal laughter's throes, Yet powerless to frame a smile! Translated by - Jacques LeClercq Heauton Timoroumenos I mean to strike you without hate, As butchers do; as Moses did The rock. From under either lid Your tears will flow to inundate This huge Sahara which is I. My heart, insensible with pain, Caught in that flood will live again: Will care whether it live or die - Will strive as in the salty sea, Drunken with brine and all but drowned, Yet driven onward by the sound Of your wild sobbing endlessly! For look - I am at war, my dear, With the whole universe. I know There is no medicine for my woe. Believe me, it is called Despair. It runs in all my veins. I pray: It cries in all my words. I am The very glass where what I damn Leers and admires itself all day. I am the wound - I am the knife The deep wound scabbards; the outdrawn Rack, and the writhing thereupon; The lifeless, and the taker of life. I murder what I most adore, Laughing: I am indeed of those Condemned for ever without repose To laugh - but who can smile no more. Translated by - George Dillon Heautontimoroumenos I'll strike you, but without the least Anger - as butchers poll an ox, Or Moses, when he struck the rocks - That from your eyelid thus released, The lymph of suffering may brim To slake my desert of its drought. So my desire, by hope made stout, Upon your salty tears may swim, Like a proud ship, far out from shore. Within my heart, which they'll confound With drunken joy, your sobs will sound Like drums that beat a charge in war. Am I not a faulty chord In all this symphony divine, Thanks to the irony malign That shakes and cuts me like a sword? It's in my voice, the raucous jade! It's in my blood's black venom too! I am the looking-glass, wherethrough Megera sees herself portrayed! I am the wound, and yet the blade! The smack, and yet the cheek that takes it! The limb, and yet the wheel that breaks it, The torturer, and he who's flayed! One of the sort whom all revile, A Vampire, my own blood I quaff, Condemned to an eternal laugh Because I know not how to smile. Translated by - Roy Campbell