jueves, 17 de mayo de 2007

When the child was a child (Peter Handke)

When the child was a child
It walked with its arms swinging.
It wanted the stream to be a river
the river a torrent
and this puddle to be the sea.

When the child was a child
It didn't know it was a child.
Everything was full of life,
and all life was one.

When the child was a child
It had no opinions about anything.
It had no habits.
It sat cross-legged,
took off running,
had a cowlick in its hair
and didn't make a face when photographed.

When the child was a child
it was the time of these questions:
Why am I me, and why not you?
Why am I here, and why not there?
When did time begin, and where does
space end?
Isn't life under the sun just a dream?
Isn't what I see, hear and smell
only the illusion of a world before the world?
Does evil actually exist,
and are there people who are really evil?
How can it be that I, who am I,
didn't exist before I came to be
and that someday
the one who I am
will no longer be the one I am?

When the child was a child
it choked on spinach, peas, rice pudding
and on steamed cauliflower.
Now it eats all of those
and not just because it has to.

When the child was a child
it once woke up in a strange bed
and now it does so time and time again.
Many people seemed beautiful then
and now only a few, if it's lucky.
It had a precise picture of Paradise
and now it can only guess at it.
It could not conceive of nothingness
and today it shudders at the idea.

When the child was a child
it played with enthusiasm
and now
it gets equally excited
but only when it concerns
its work.

When the child was a child
berries fell into its hand as only berries do
and they still do now.
Fresh walnuts made its tongue raw
and they still do now.
On every mountaintop it had a longing
for yet a higher mountain.
And in each city it had a longing
for yet a bigger city.
And it is still that way.
It reached for the cherries in the treetop
with the elation it still feels today.
It was shy with all strangers
and it still is.
It awaited the first snow
and it still waits that way.

When the child was a child
it threw a stick into a tree like a lance,
and it still quivers there today.

Peter Handke