Chant of Peace by Gastón Hidalgo Ortega

Yes, with the profound faith coursing through my veins,
with the sweetest root of my voice,
I proclaim—oh, Brothers!—this chant of peace,
this new dimension of my soul,
which suffers, falls, and weeps before the pain of the dead inhabitant
who has no star to hold…
How great the torture that shatters my spirit,
which struggles, anguished, in an eternal night!
How great the nameless pain from an adverse fate!
And for this reason, I love you, Peace, sweet haven foreseen by my temples!
I weep for you, Peace, for whom I deeply pray…
I call out to you, Peace, in my pariah’s grief…
In you, I seek a celestial dawn.
May I never see my bride with her breasts torn by vultures.
May I never feel the cursed bats’ flapping.
May I never suddenly find that my books are gone,
nor the friendly pen,
on my loving desk…
(Because if were ever to see—oh, dear Mother!—disturbing my sleep,
Satan’s sinister grimace,
I would surely lose my sanity and take my own life…).

Chant of Peace

Translator’s Note: This translation of “Cantoral de Paz,” rendered here as “Chant of Peace,” revives a work originally penned in 1953 by Gastón Hidalgo Ortega, a celebrated Ecuadorian poet. Ortega dedicated this poignant piece to his mother, imbuing it with a profound longing for peace amidst despair—a theme that resonates deeply across various cultures and epochs. A prominent figure in Ecuador’s literary community and a member of the 1950s Club 7 poets’ group, Ortega’s poetry is distinguished by its deep emotional resonance and a continual quest for spiritual solace. These elements are vividly expressed in this poem, showcasing the enduring relevance and universal appeal of his work. The year of its writing, 1953, was a period rich with artistic exploration for Ortega, whose works were mainly published posthumously, allowing a wider audience to appreciate his profound insights and contributions to Ecuadorian poetry.

Original Spanish Version

Cantoral de Paz

Sí, con la fe profunda de mi sangre,
con la más dulce raíz de mi voz,
digo -¡oh, hermanos!- este canto de paz,
esta nueva dimensión de mi alma
que sufre y cae y llora ante el dolor del habitante muerto
sin una estrella en la mano…
¡Cuánta tortura hace trizas mi espíritu
que se debate, angustioso, en una noche eterna!
¡Cuánto dolor sin nombre por un destino adverso!
¡Y por eso te amo, paz, dulce remanso que presienten mis sienes
Lloro por tí (sic), paz, la de mi honda plegaria…
Clamo a tí (sic), paz, en mi dolor de paria…
Busco en tí (sic) una celeste aurora.
Que no vea yo a mi novia con sus senos mordidos por los buitres.
Que no sienta jamás el aletear de murciélagos malditos.
Que no descubra, de pronto, que ya no están mis libros
ni la pluma cordial,
en mi amoroso escritorio…
(Porque si viera -¡oh, Madre mía!- interrumpiendo mi sueño
esa mueca siniestra de Satán,
me vuelvo loco y me suicido…).

Spanish version was transcribed by Neal Moriarty on Feb 20, 2020 (at efecto alquimia blog)

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