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Soliloquio del Individuo by Nicanor Parra, Translated by T Wignesan

Soliloquio del Individuo by Nicanor Parra, Translated by T. Wignesan The Individual’s Soliloquy I am the Individual At first I lived in a rock (there I carved some figures). Later I looked for a more appropriate place. I am the Individual. In the beginning I had to procure food for myself, find fish, birds, look for firewood (and other matters also took up my time). To start a bonfire, firewood, forewood, where to find a little firewood, some firewood to start a bonfire, I am the Individual. At the same time I asked myself, I escaped from an abyss full of air; a voice answered me: I am the Individual. Then I tried to live in another rock, there too I carved some figures, engraved a river, buffaloes, carved out a serpent, I am the Individual. But no, I became bored with the things I was doing, fire bothered me, I wanted to see more, I am the Individual. I went down a valley irrigated by a river, there I found what I needed, encountered a savage people, a tribe, I am the Individual. Saw that there they undertook some things, they carved figures on rocks, they kindled fires, Yes, they kindled fires also! I am the Individual. They wanted to know from where I hailed. I answered in the affirmative, that I entertained no fixed goals, I answered in the negative, that I would keep going. Good. I took hold of a piece of stone I found in a river and began to work on it, began to polish it made of it a part of my own life. But this is far too long. I felled some trees in order to set sail, looked for fish, looked for different things (I am the Individual). Until I began to get bored all over again. One gets bored with tempests, the thunder, the lightning, I am the Individual. Good. I forced myself into thinking a little while, stupid questions filled my head, false problems. So I began to wander through some woods. I arrived at a tree and yet another, I arrived at a fountain, I arrived at a pit where one could see rats: here it is I who comes, I then said, have you seen a tribe hereabouts, a savage people who know how to light a fire? In this manner I kept going towards a westerly direction in the company of other beings, or rather all alone. In order to see, one must believe, they said to me, I am the Individual. In the dark one could discern forms, perhaps clouds, perhaps one saw clouds, one saw lightning; all these things had already taken place some days past, I felt like I was dying; I invented some machines, manufactured watches arms, vehicles, I am the Individual. I had hardly enough time to bury my dead, hardly had I time to sow, I am the Individual. Some years hence, I conceived some things, some forms, crossed frontiers and remained stationary in a sort of niche, in a boat in which I rowed for forty days, forty nights, I am the Individual. Later on droughts set in, some wars ensued, varieties of colours appeared in the valley, but I must keep going, must keep producing. Invented the sciences, immutable truths, fashioned he tanagras*, published books running into thousands of pages, let my face swell, invented the phonograph, the sewing machine, then the first automobiles began to appear, I am the Individual. Somebody set apart the planets, trees segregated themselves! But I separated the set of tools, furniture, stationery for the writing desk, I am the Individual. They also built cities, roads, religious institutions went out of fashion, they looked for what was said, for happiness, I am the Individual. Later I spent the better part of my time travelling, in practising, in practising languages, languages, I am the Indiviidual. I peeped through a keyhole, Yes, I did, what am I to say, I did in order to opt out of doubt, I did look through, behind some curtains, I am the Individual. Good. Perhaps it would be best to return to that valley, to that rock where I lodged, and begin to carve sketches again, from back to front I engraved the world upside down. But no: life is devoid of meaning. *statues of human forms made in Tanagra of Boetia. © T. Wignesan – Paris, 2016 ,

Copyright © | Year Posted 2016




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