100 Refutations: Day 62

To Live and Die

Smoke and nothingness, the breath of being:
Flower, man, and bird die too
as love runs to forgetful seas
and pleasure flees to a burial of brevity.

Where are yesterday’s lights?
All splendors have their dusk,
behind liquor hides all bitterness,
and everything is rectified by the evil of being born.

Who laughed without first, in pain, moaning
pleasure, sweet suffering?
Crazy and vain, the passion of feeling!

Vain and crazy, I long for thought!
What is it to live? To dream without sleeping.
What is it to die? To sleep without dreaming.


Manuel Gonzáles Prada

Manuel Gonzáles Prada (1844-1918) was an influential figure in Peruvian culture and politics during his lifetime. His essays were known for being full of irony and humor, and his innovative poetry has been described as a precursor to Modernism. In addition to his writing and political careers, Prada spent several years working as the Director of the National Library of Peru.

Lina M. Ferreira C.-V.

Lina M. Ferreira C.-V. earned MFAs in creative nonfiction writing and literary translation from The University of Iowa. She is the author of Drown Sever Sing from Anomalous Press and Don’t Come Back from Mad River Books, as well as editor, with Sarah Viren, of the forthcoming anthology Essaying the Americas. Her fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and translation work has been featured in journals including Bellingham ReviewChicago ReviewFourth GenreBrevityPoets & Writers, and The Sunday Rumpus, among others. She won Best of the Net and Iron Horse Review’s Discovered Voices Award, has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, and is a Rona Jaffe fellow. She moved from Colombia to China to Columbus, Ohio to Richmond, Virginia, where she works as an assistant professor for Virginia Commonwealth University. Visit www.linawritesessays.com.

English translation copyright (c) Lina M. Ferreira C.-V., 2018.