To My Brother Miguel In Memoriam

Brother, today I sit on the brick bench of the house,
where you make a bottomless emptiness.
I remember we used to play at this hour, and mama
caressed us: "But, sons..."

Now I go hide
as before, from all evening
lectures, and I trust you not to give me away.
Through the parlor, the vestibule, the corridors.
Later, you hide, and I do not give you away.
I remember we made ourselves cry,
brother, from so much laughing.

Miguel, you went into hiding
one night in August, toward dawn,
but, instead of chuckling, you were sad.
And the twin heart of those dead evenings
grew annoyed at not finding you. And now
a shadow falls on my soul.

Listen, brother, don't be late
coming out. All right? Mama might worry.

by Cesar Vallejo

Comments (4)

Such a sad poem. Tugs at my heartstrings. Loss of a sibling, especially in youth, would be devastating. I'm at the age now where I or my siblings could go at any time. Of course, there have been several times when I could have bitten the dust earlier. We never know when our time will be. One of my friends died of appendicitis in junior high school, and many of my high school classmates are gone.
So poignant so haunting, the title word 'memoriam' gives the tragedy added meaning; the third stanza seems to hint of a suicide with the first three lines 'Miguel, you went into hiding/ one night in August, toward dawn, / but, instead of chuckling, you were sad.' The juxtaposition with the next three lines 'And the twin heart of those dead evenings, / grew annoyed at not finding you. And now/ a shadow falls on my soul' adds tension with the darkening imagery, mention of death and Miguel not found. A growing foreboding is chilled with the final fourth stanza 'Listen, brother, don't be late/ coming out. All right? Mama might worry.' A feeling of a refusal to face reality, the death of a brother, the worry of a mother, echoes with the 'bottomless emptiness' of the second line.
sad& simply great! astonishingly direct yet touching, that hide & seek game of life sometimes also of death.
There is such a delicate, intensely loving bond that can exist between any two people and I think siblings celebrate that notion in its highest possible way. Like twins who perhaps developed their own fun little language between just themselves, those dear sibling relationships are so intensely unique and just their very own. I can not grasp the games Cesar and Miguel played, those little things they invented to pass the time between themselves, but I am certainly awash in the grandiosity of the love that existed between them... What a wonderful way to start my day....