The bird sings 

   And you do not understand it.

the bird dances in flight

   And you do not comprehend it.

Why are the trills so sharp, why so soft or harsh?

   And you do not understand it.

You will need to be a bird,

   A bird as branch, as wind, even sky.

You will need to fly deep within.

    Andrés king cobos

(translation, Nancy Rocha)


                   IN THE DARKNESS I LISTEN


Waking at dawn to write of the night


Speechless before the indescribable:


Phosphorescence, flashes of dulled and stubborn memory;


in the tight dark screen a world of fleeting images is born.


Slowly, stealthily dawn arrives, light settles down to reveal


an earthly, enveloping, blinding reality.



We are covered by night’s broad flight


inviting us to wear a mask, “Last night I dreamt…”


Warning, premonition, crutch or fear;


a magical three-legged table.


I am exalted, I fall, I float.


And if there were no awakening?




Sound always opens onto the image.




In the darkness I listen.


The wave … rises


crashing softly,


raising a whisper


ending with a crack.


My ears see


foam and salt,


“beginning and end”


as successive synchrony


of the same breath.





Someone immense whispers:


Who is it so like me?


Maybe I’m a thousand years old


not yet daring to be effaced,


to be lost to be found in others


in a blending of matter and spirit,


destiny overtaking hope.


To evolve is to drink the light.



In the darkness I move forward, not recalling


a small light slowly opening at its roots,


growing to become a bloodied sword:


The vision is a daydream,


the intrepid song of an abysmal sea.




I love night, my close friend,


she is calm, intense and long…


bringing secrets and promises to my ear.


Far away a lonely light,


the only ship on a burnished, black sea;


I see patience and the rigging


and the mockery of dialogue


to scare off sleep or fever or boredom,


to bear being in the shut-in night,


fleeing from one’s self … the lonely light


overcome by darkness


moving slowly into the bay


with three fish at dawn.




Before the birds arrive with their song


roosters burn.



Constellations of absolute night


each star a jewel


with its sign and arrow.



A night filled with questions


the only answer in one’s self.



And all those beings with us?


Questions and answers,


mirrors winking their sign.


Night and death an unknown couple


-said to be beginning or end-


perhaps only an edge,


a wide abyss of a margin


expanding and contracting.



The sea howls under the night


seeking depth and silence


the white waved wake undulates


to become a sibilant shrew


spreading out as magnetic friction.


as salt-logged water and sand,


the elemental erosion of time.


We are all watered down in the wave,


Serpents coiled in self,


the night mirroring your abyss.


Wave after wave the writing of Hypnos,


calmer, grander, immersed


transparency in an oval lens…


Immutable resplendence


awakening your passion for vertigo.


tearing apart air and sound;


The ecstasy of a breath


the pleasurable scent left by the sea.


Wave after wave, over our bodies,


Peacefully … the forgetfulness of being


Enshrouding us, delivering us


Oh, abandoned sea,


Sea of affliction


You moan, make us wet and give life.


Our certainty wounded by its light,


beyond the intuition of night,

having us claim gifts and powers.


The mind, sensitive film


-in body and soul-


reproduction of an expanded Cosmos.


So we feel the deep sea,


its gravity licking the edges,


the age-old touch of its shells,


the fleeting play of foam


shining on the rocks of its sanctuary.


With a gentle shading day approaches,


grey horizon throws out its line,


clouds break up into fog over the sea.


Sleep is gone with its cradle-rocking


and dawn sings of lavender and roses…


a reviving tonic before focusing


on soundings absorbed by things.


And through a slit in the hills

like a red wound,


desirous, the sun rises.


Andrés King Cobos

 Translation by Nancy Rocha