Pablo de Rokha translated by Alani Rosa Hicks-Bartlett Epitaph of the Tomb of Juan, The Carpenter

Here lies “Juan, the carpenter”; he lived seventy-three years on this earth, in poverty, he saw his youngest grandchildren grow up and he loved, loved, loved his job with the dignity of an honest man; he loathed the imbecile capitalist and the rotten, despicable, or utilitarian laborer; —he judged others according to ideals—.

The simple honest people of the village would see him at dusk, explaining to his children the funereal value of worldly things; once night fell, he would innocently sing next to the small child’s crib, —the scent of poplar or soapbark shavings, of wineberry trees and soapberry plants, of boldo, and great Chilean Acorn trees perfumed the rustic atmosphere of his home, his wife would smile; he never gave up, and his life was like this, his life was like this.

Every day he obeyed the great priesthood of working from the crack of dawn, since he wanted to be humble and childlike, modest in his aspirations; on Sundays he would read Kant, Cervantes, or the Book of Job; he rarely spoke and preferred the healthy vegetables from the field; he lived seventy-three years on this earth, and he perished, on the gallows, FOR BEING A REVOLUTIONARY. R.I.P.


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