Confidence in the Eyeglass


The bloodstained glasses of John Lennon. Photo tweeted by Yoko Ono on what would have been her 44th wedding anniversary to Lennon, March 21, 2013

 
 

Confidence in the eyeglass, not in the eye;
in the staircase, never in the stair step;
in the wing, not in the bird
and only in you, and only in you, and only in you.

Confidence in wickedness, not in the wicked;
in the glass, but never in the liquor;
in the corpse, not in the man
and only in you, and only in you, and only in you.

Confidence in many, but no longer in one;
in the riverbed, never in the current;
in your pants, not in your legs
and only in you, and only in you, and only in you.

Confidence in the window, not in the door;

Confidence in the eyeglass, not in the eye;
in the staircase, never in the stair step;
in the wing, not in the bird
and only in you, and only in you, and only in you.

Confidence in wickedness, not in the wicked;
in the glass, but never in the liquor;
in the mother, but not in the nine months;
in destiny, not in the gold dice
and only in you, and only in you, and only in you.

César Vallejo

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4 thoughts on “Confidence in the Eyeglass

  1. Dearest Genealogist
    A wonderful photograph and a splendid piece of verse.
    The Dandy has always been a fan of Yoko Ono’s work, cruelly overlooked until a recent revival, and its simplicity and desperately honest quality is perfectly summed up here.
    The poem too is rather fine and I will now seek out more of Cesar’s verse.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

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  2. Dear dandy:

    My boyfriend and I almost had a discussion about Vallejo’s poem. He thinks is kinda depressing and bleak.The verse “And in yourself alone…” (“y en ti solo…”) has a quite different meaning in the Spanish version. That line in the original version is ambiguous and one wonders whether he’s referring to the one person he trusts and loves or in himself. That line that sums every verse means that we need to trust in ourselves and then we can trust in anyone else. For a moment I hesitated to posting because I thought the poem would be misinterpreted. I’m glad you and two more guys also liked it.

    I admire Yoko Ono and I like what you said about her.

    XOXO

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  3. I just found this poem from Vallejo and loved it at first sight. There is an important thing to emphasize: in Spanish the word “solo” have two different meanings an that is being established by the accent, so we have “solo” and “sólo”. Without the accent it refers to “loneliness” but with the accent it refers to “uniqueness” so that is an important differentiation that needs to be considered in the translation to English and other languages.
    In this translation that is credited to Clayton Eshleman there is a misinterpretation of the word “sólo” (with the accent) as it is used in the original Spanish version of the poem. The closest English word to “sólo” will be “only” instead of “alone”, so the Spanish verse that says “y en ti sólo, en ti sólo, en ti sólo.” translated to English should say something like “and only in you, only in you, only in you” or maybe “and in yourself, yourself, yourself”.

    Thanks for sharing this poem, Vallejo was an extraordinary poet who was born ahead of his time. He died in poverty with very low recognition of his geniality.

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