Sonnets to Coralie

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Hugo has written several entries for the Hodder Education Encyclopedia Essentials of Philosophy and Ethics (London: 2006.) He is also the author of The Crisis of Atheism, published in The Philosopher, the Journal of the Philosophical Society of England, and a novel sold in both Colombia and Spain: Nuevas Tardes en Manhattan (Manhattan New Soirées).

His first long-feature documentary Manatí: Portrait of a third-world happy Town, was edited in London between 2003 and 2006. His long-feature digital film Hamlet Unbound was produced in 1998 in Philadelphia, with no budget and with non-professional actors. Hugo lives currently in his hometown, where he works as an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Communications and Media Arts, Program in Audiovisual Arts at the Universidad Autónoma de Bucaramanga, UNAB.

I
The cruelest wind came from the meadows
Virgin furrows where we used to graze,
I, ill-born creature, adopted by the beasts
That nature grows and feeds

After the voice of your departure came
I ground and broke my teeth at night
Vestige of many atrocious dreams
Cleansed by charitable souls at dawn

How the air tries in vain to fill your gap
I remain faithful to you even without you
Forging arrows out of foreign words
Expecting to pierce a diamond heart

II
You leave, then, the treasures of El Dorado,
With words as threatening as death
The orchid and the hummingbird no longer touch you
They will fade off with this, my mien, as well

I can’t recognize you in the one that moves away
Casting me on the Caribbean shores
My spouse used to flank anger and sorrow
Without yielding to adversity and detachment

The vestiges of the union I deemed happy
Are drawn in the flat I had just built
Barren by your cause, now devastated
Though perhaps I’m the one who dies at every step

¿Whereto your warm embrace?
¿Whereto the games we used to play?
Holding to your written promises I wait
To be redeemed by the woman I engaged

III
It was a day before my birthday
On November tenth two thousand eight
Though I was fated to learnt it before Christmas
Thunderbolt that scorched the Andean heights

Vultures envious of your prize
Chuckled on the imperfections of my love
With a polite grind you gave me a cup of tea
Among linen covers your hands put me to sleep

When I woke up you were no longer there
Unwilling to recognize my woe
I called your name for forty days and nights
Mire and hush came out from the earth

Then a light broke out from the sky
“These are the coldest dungeons of my soul”
I heard confounding echoes of your voice
Since then I fight with angels for your prompt return

IV

You, who were in charge,
Of all the beatings of my heart,
Ditch what I deemed so dear to you
And ask me to go on with lethal wounds

You, whom I confided,
The fees and genii of my soul
Lay them to rest into the deepest tomb
They still cry for help in non-believing grounds

You, the one in charge,
Of all our happy days and tranquil nights
Evade me as a leper torn out by crows and hyenas
And deny me the solace of an embrace

You, for whom I built the cities of the world,
Brings indolence and humiliation in return
Expecting my forgetfulness or hate
As if I could carry on without the water and the sun

V

The darkest hour shimmers
Under the beams of toil and obligation
Acclaims and compliments are heard
Announcing the feats I reached for her

A gray sedan comes out from the past
To bring me over the roads and towns
I once promised for a sparkle of her mirth
Bequest that fortune conceded and rebuffed

A colleague of mine asks me for her love
I reply that such is the gloss of contempt
Amongst adulteresses and bachelors
She shrugs her shoulders at my name

But my heart deny her tearless days
Against her coldness and belief
I know they are but delusions of the flesh
Bursts of laugh that sprout, rot and die

VI

A turbulent month ends
And a gentle breeze caresses my palms
You write me asking me for a break up
Yes, I won’t turn my back on you

It was at night when I woke up
And you were no longer there
One night when you ignored my care
One night when I expired in the Caribbean Sea

One night when I painfully understood
I was less than a stranger to your world
Though one night this hustle will be dust
Away, then, I’ll kiss my friend again

For we live many an infinite being
From pain, misery and reward
Secret that God revealed at the beginning
Solace of a fair love-weary life

VII

You confess that you have hurt me
And that you feel uncomfortable about it
That you cannot go on sharing your life
With this mix of reflection and belief

That you don’t wish to leave a trace
Of the flaws that wrecked your care
For you had already spelled them out
Amid caresses and vows of concern

I announce I never heard them
Or if they were uttered by your lips
Your smile, the sweetest I have known
Banned their rancor from the stars

Endless pictures of a cheerful wife
Proof my devotion and deny your claim
In them the inscrutability of your misdeed
And the perils of ecstasy and war

VIII
A light and a soothing cup of tea
Accompany a soliloquy of love
Unable to restrain the torrents of our past
I gather reminiscences of your astray voice

We also used to drink spirits, wine and tea
Our small flat near Marble Arch
Was the locus of self-celebrity and wealth
I still see you lying on my shoulder before noon
Now I glimpse I was never in your plans
Whereas I toiled two years for your sake
You hardly endured three months for us
Effort that impaired the child we never had

Of you the struggle, the sweetness and the insight
The bliss, the elation and the faith
Talents that inhabit a besieged empire
Reduced to rubble by your fallen sword

IX

Have I to resign the fortress and the creek
I shaped out from our milk and dust
To the waves that encircle your impulse?
Have I to allow the seed of new idylls?

Without litany or pomp
I remember you when you forget me most
Relying on odd relatives and guests
That open misleading shortcuts to your bliss

The oracle of your prompt return
Lies crushed by your undying loathe
What was accomplished fades away
As our kiss in nineteen-ninety-eight

I had prepared you for the Eden
But if this is the final step for your breakthrough
For your current and arriving feat
I shall destroy my harp without remorse

X

Out the abysses of melancholy
And the voids of your desertion
Without the distraught melody of a lute
I hear echoes of your caring voice

From the streams of Saint James Park
To the alleys of Bucaramanga
Your silhouette alone turned this desert into a sod
The safe-haven of the camel and the rose

Over the trails of Buffalo and Oporto
Before the white-shedding birches of our lake
And the yellowed-cap elms of Central Park
We used to grasp our hands in endless walks

The vaults of the Lincoln Cathedral
The airy arches of the Mezquita
And the slender columns of Grenada
Will be justly renowned by your return

XI

On the eve of a new pledge
After vast months of denied grief
Of arduous fight and cosmic plead
I had come to relinquish my felicity and wealth

I had come to accept a loveless earth
By acquitting you of your indolence and leave
The end of gloomy strolls and bitter moons
Cross I had to bore from Chester to New Hampshire

The orb then summoned us to Paris
On the eve of your birthday and Cristina’s
A splendor gleamed in the horizon
To appease our tempest s and the ache

Forged in the coal of Latin words
We will make English the language of true love
It will take only two of us
With no country, with no child

XII

She went once to build a hut
Near a black forest and a lake
She strayed so far she barely heard
When I called her for an embrace

She didn’t answer, didn’t talk
She stood, and then she ran away
Hiding in a farm, delaying her return
Though I searched her everywhere

I asked at her mother’s house
Whether she was still around
She told me she was doing well
And gave me a token in return

Sudden and swift and light as that
The ties of marriage were crushed
And I learned of death and resurrection
Prior to the grave

XIII

Every poet chants to Leander
Whose zeal went beyond endurance
Crossing the Hellespont at night
He used to reach the arms of Hero

A torch was his lighting-house
Until one night a storm broke out
Without direction he strayed away
At dawn they found his cadaver on a shore

I, who is about to cross the ocean
For the peril of a embrace
Shall reveal the tragedy of Leander
As known to lovers who risked all

His torch was never quenched
And no storm broke out in the night
Leander died heart-broken in the stream
For Hero had dismissed his love

XIV

At thirty I brought you from Saône
The woman whom I loved the most
On the road from Fatima to Lourdes
You washed away her ire with tears

This morning as ever I rely on you
Out of pangs and tribulations
From Florida to San Gil and Osh
Your shelter lengthened our joy

Crying from the very depths
I beg you for a peace of mind
You alone can reunite us in Montmartre
Or bring us to a more persistent heart

As a child I used to kneel before you
For a sister who was about to depart
Though I lost her in the waves of time
Her love stayed, her eternity and being

XV

Though you put the blame on me
Out of your unhappiness and rage
Though you returned my care with abhorrence
I won’t forsake this, our undying love

Thought you openly confessed your unbelief
For my country and my pathway
Regretting your marriage with a prophet
I won’t forsake this, our undying love

It will go on in the stars that crown the moon
In the joy of the child who spots the sea
In the smile that kindles a romance
In the snow that gleams and lights the night

It will go on in the shelter of a cuddle
In the spontaneous end of disagreement
In the caress that the mournful earth receives
From her faithful groom after a toiling night

XVI

I have preserved your Sudoku books
The chair, the desk we built for you
The portrait that announced this parting
Love letters, your room in our bed

Perhaps you left the best of you
At night I have closed my eyes to see
New images of your happy gentle face
Your candid eyes, your shiny smile

Or perhaps your absence never happened
Though your frank voice is gone
I still feel your friendliness at dusk
When insolence disturbs me

For though I have died in you
You have survived in me
In my thoughts and my demeanor
In the calm with which I face forlornness

XVII

All forms and shapes of melancholy
Roar as waves from an inner sea
My life, if once a choral song
Has become a mere tale of survival

An infinite night follows another
Of feverish, untiring thoughts
These eyes–the ones you used to love
Are the battleground of a misplaced world

My walls–before so admired, so firm
Are in ruins by your leave alone
Soldiers from Rome and Cartage
Maraud over my brooks and fields

In your thirty four year of age
I offer my faithfulness to you
My constancy, my willingness
My fervor and, yes, my insisting love

XIX

Though the world divide us
And though the forking path of life
Bring us to conflicting ends
Our souls will be the same

Though new affections
Be reborn in other hands
In the fashion or costume of a smile
Our hearts will be the same

Though we reach our dreams
Surmounting pity or admiration
Though the world pursue us
Our love will be the same

\
Though we die old
Or in the river of to- day
Death will dissolve this heavy clay
To prove we are the same

XX

Once, a child knelt in Fátima
For the healing of a greedy soul
Our Mother prayed to Heaven,
To Jesus, the redeemer of lost hopes

That hungry soul endure thereafter
Sickness, tribulation and despair
Until his excesses withered young
He returned then to the solace of past love

Perhaps what I am did make you wrong
Perhaps what you are did make me wrong
Love, notwithstanding, memorizes only love
Wrongdoings blaze to cinders by themselves

That this world is an illusion
Can be proved by your remoteness
How would I change a word by you
For all the delights of this, my corpse

XXI

Half the world has darkened
And half has shined since you left
Ten years of virginal emotions
End thus in an abrupt and final leave

The vows we made on the lawn
Of the most lavish Cheshire field
Lie withered by your hand
I vainly nursed them back to health

Our love was a tender brook
Yet now that you find the bliss
We shared out of tediousness and will
It is a pit that drowns all memories and moans

I won’t upset you with my love again
I wont’ resist the universe and its designs
I herewith surrender your kindheartedness and hope
To allow myself to learn, to love, to rejoice again and die

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Hugo Santander

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