The Last Letter

By Romano Giudicissi

He who has ears let him hear:
For Alma, so loved
As no one has ever loved her,
So loved as no one
Will ever love her again.

This poem was written in Spanish many years ago when the author lived in Spain, where I met him, became his friend and translated his poem. "Alma" in Spanish, besides being a woman's name, means "soul". This is lost in translation, at least if the reader does not keep it in mind. Unfortunately, I no longer have the original

Frank Thomas Smith

after all
that has been between us,
after all
we have already said,
not even I know
why I am writing to you,
but I cannot omit doing so,
and I am sending you this
as the last
of my letters.

Mi life and my deeds,
although on everyone's lips,
are disdained and wasted.
If they did not know the truth,
though as in a dream,
they would have no guilt.
But now they know
and are guilty,
thereby profaning my love.

You also,
if you did not know the truth
would have no guilt.
But you know what a hard and long offering
my coming still is.

My time has
not yet been consumed;
yours, Alma,
is ripe for harvest.

A bit longer
and my time will come,
a bit longer
and yours
will have ended.
Then, poor you,
the long winter will come,
the silence,
the loneliness,
the inexorable sentence.

I do not cease to grieve
over the same question:
What has become of the smiles,
the promises
and the White Weddng Gown?

Oh, what sadness you bring me!
How could you ever forget
our pact of blood?
If you don't believe in me
and if your memory fails you
ask your blood
in which abundantly flows mine.
Then perhaps you will awaken
from the enchantment
that enfolds you in
mournful mist.

What kind of love is yours?
You invoke me only at low tide.
When happiness
glows in your eyes
you forget me.

You call me
only in the terrible hours
when it is intolerable
to digest all the poison
and it becomes impossible
to transform it into food.
I, here, always at your feet,
humiliating myself with the hope
of a glance.

A single glance would suffice
for your heart
to glow
as mine glows
and you don't dare to even raise your eyes.
Why should you fear me?
I love you
more than myself,
above myself,
and I live to the degree
that you live,
be it in pleasure
or even more so in pain.

Before it is
too late,
I beg you, Alma,
look at me.
Dare to look at me!
Though it be only once
have the courage to look at me
and you will be forever safe,
and you will be forever spouse.

You see
that at each invocation
I resort to the same hope
that at last
you will notice me:
who alleviates sorrow,
who heals wounds,
who forgives debts and debtors.
Then you complain
that I am responsible
for all your unhappiness,
when I am the only bearer
of all goodness.

Mine are the valleys
which you inhabit –
valleys once fertile
with wheat and flocks
which you have turned to wasteland
through indifference.
Mine are the rivers,
the blue seas,
the winter pastures and forests.
Mine are the mines
of gold and silver,
mine are the mines
of the sun and the moon.
All this
and still more than this
has been entrusted me by my father.
I have given it to you,
to you whom I love
as no one has loved,
to you whom I love
as no one ever
will love again.

you still call me
only when nightmares
impede your sleep,
when you are thirsty,
when you are hungry
or when fear suffocates you.
You never invite me
when your table is set
with good food and wines.
Just the other day
when I appeared for a moment
as you sang and laughed
you threw me out
like the least of beggars,
calling me a wet blanket
me, who enjoyed the gaiety
more than any of your guests.

I do not conceal from you
that I am desolate,
more desolate than ever.
I cannot hide from you
that the cup
- as proclaimed by
the mother of all mothers –
is full.
So full
that one more drop
and it will overflow.

As within a bottomless pit,
with a rhythm of bells
that ring to death,
the night is falling.
Never has been seen to fall
such a black night,
such an abundance
of horrible forebodings.

The thread of days
has broken
and all returns
toward its origin.
Nations are known who,
inflamed by hate,
traverse the land
to kill themselves in war.
Others are known
who venerate a beast
so poisonous
that to look at it
is to be fulminated
in the same instant.
I could tell you
of still others
who, possessed
by sad prophesies,
have delivered themselves up to death,
piercing their breasts with long knives.
The noble ones,
having abandoned their clean dwellings,
changed their vestments
of silks and jewels for tatters,
have withdrawn to the desert
to expiate their guilt.
Certain sailors
swear to have seen
fish flying high over the sea
and birds of earth
swoop down against surging waves.
Visions and fears
torment the sleep
of the venerable ancients,
children prophesize,
women are changed to stone,
men adore the abomination
placed in the holy place
and, the other day,
with their black wings
stirred up a fire in a brazier
to burn in its hollows
broods of white doves.
The light is withdrawing,
will be the darknesses and,
while the false prophets
announce the end of the world,
an incredible multitude,
pressed against the portals
of the temple,
lies down in fear
longing for the new good.

Alma, these days are
like ferocious thieves, savage hoards led
by pestilence and hunger,
like vultures attracted
by the stench of dead flesh
that descend toward the regions
where time ends.
which still keep me exiled,
the fault
-if one can speak of fault -
of my incomparable love.

Alma, these are days of ill-omen:
homes where flowers
whither at once,
cripples who moan
their ill-fated slow daily lament.
These are days
when the blind
are about to see
and those who think they see
will become blind.
These days are
like opaque walls
that separate the night from the day,
like ships adrift
without direction
while the harps
are so hungry for caresses
and so few dare to play them
for fear of going mad.

Alma, the more
the torment of passion
pushes you in pursuit of the footprints
of infinite signs
the more will it be impossible
to find the road
which leads to me,
for you have never received me
as I am naked,
for you never
have let me sleep
in the warmth of your being,
for you never
have wanted to console me
for my long exile.

Be careful of the games
of exquisite and subtle traps.
You are incarnating me so much
that your arms are
You invest strange tales
where inhuman creatures
soothe infernal deliriums,
while I long
for the beats of your heart
to merge themselves in mine
and that you
finally feel saturated
in the nuptial embrace.

I yearn so for your love,
even more now
when love
is ending
in the world –
and you do nothing
but come and go
from the stars to the flesh,
from the flesh to the stars.
In order not to die of tedium
you have begun,
with infinite astuteness,
to compose of me
crossword puzzles
in order to make the truth
an insoluble charade.

Oh, before eternity are condemned
the murderers of the roses!
Eternally damned
are the tormentors of the iridescent

... Love is ending
in the world ...
to which loyal spouse will I deliver
our inner son?

you cannot remove the nails,
nor can I completely
crucify you
without you wanting it –
so why do you waste the years
wandering from the stars to the flesh
and from the flesh to the stars?

Wake up, Alma,
the blind are about to see
and those who think they see
nevermore will see.

and let us live the dance
of most perfect love!
My father
has waited centuries for us,
my mother
has waited centuries for us,
the rainbow
has waited centuries for us,
and still you reproach me
that you did not choose me
but I selected you.

So be it:
I am seeking so
that I consume myself
and can do no less
than consume myself more
seeking you.
I have beseeched you so much
that in my mouth
and on my hands I have wounds
whose blood will not encrust.

without you, I am a widower,
without you, I am an orphan,
without you, I have no arms,
nor do I have feet,
nor do I have eyes.
without me, you have no life,
without me, your arms give no warmth,
without me, your feet walk not,
without me, your eyes see not.
If you do not yet fear
it's because I still seek you.

of which water
from which fountain
would you drink
the arrogance
of your beautiful adolescence,
to deceive yourself
like precious pearls
thrown to the swine?
Find out.
Although you've sold me
a million times
you can never forget my name.
how high it is in the sky
and how deep it is in the earth:
my name,
no one can ever
erase it,
my name,
hear how sweet it is,
how perfect it is,

Too tied to the wheel
of infinite returns,
if instead of understanding me
you would try to experience me
how much we could do together
of all that I have done alone.
By not knowing me
greater is the pain,
louder is the scream,
for in penetrating you so
I pain you more.

How often have I told you
of my long vigil
in the orchard of agony?
If I had no other choice
for myself
how could I have one
for you, little Alma,
so tied to the earth!

But soon,
on the day of the living flames,
you also will walk
on the mountain of skulls.
I will come for you,
and when I do
will you recognize me?
will you be able to accept me
with the kiss which receives
the impulse of life?

Forgetful one,
from which fountains
of which springs
would you extract
the water of life,
if I am the spring,
if I am the life?
In which devoted disciple
do you confide
at the hour of convulsions
if I am wisdom,
if I am devotion?
To which saint would you
raise your prayers
if I am sanctity,
if I am prayer?
And you still know not
how to pray?
It is useless
to scrutinize the horizon
expecting beings
from other worlds
or that a multitude
of shining angels
come to save you,
for I am the horizon,
I am salvation!
In truth it is useless
to seek more,
I am the mother
who kissed your cheeks
furrowed with tears,
I am the father
with his firm gentleness,
I am the brother who
reveals to you the symbols
of dreams.

You do nothing but flee.
To flee, but
to where will you flee
that you have not already flown?

To what new frontier
of the universe
would you go
where I cannot reach you
if I wish?
On what new shores
would you land
where I cannot await you
– if I wish?

I, the only one who can heal
the wounds of your clipped wings!
In which deep abyss
in what opium smoke away the boredom
of the waiting days?
To which false charm succumb
with desperate mind
to which I, if I wish,
cannot be even madder?

distant beauty,
there is no corner
where you can conceal yourself
and where, if I wish,
I cannot revive in you,
still more potent,
still more tremendous.

For all the plots
and exorcisms
you can arrange,
for all the dates
you miss
you cannot avoid
my absolute love,
my absolute pain.
My pain is forever
and for ever:
galaxies have been born
and have extinguished
feeding upon my pain,
pain which will always
find you again
awaiting the day of the living flames,
on which you will welcome me.

* * *

You are welcome,
for now I know who you are:
you are the divine spouse,
you are the absolute pain
which feeds the spirit of things.  It is you
who makes comprehensible
the way
and walks in unison
with life and death,
and from death generates life.
Twenty centuries
did not suffice to know you
while flowers carried you on their stems.

Nuptial alliance:
you are welcome,
for you are the transmutation,
the fecundation,
the height,
the depth,
the alpha and the omega.
You are welcome,
for you are the life
of my flesh,
the breath of my blood,
you who makes grow
the plants from the earth
and melts the snowflakes.
You are welcome,
for you are not the cross
but him who leads me
to it,
teaching me
the new prayer: