List of Poems

Of time, earth and dust (The Old Man)

De tiempo, tierra y polvo
(El anciano)

Neither butterflies nor apples

Ni mariposas ni manzanas

Related Publication

Nada Queda Atrás
In 2003 the Chilean poet Carlos Trujillo began to write poems based on Rogovin's photos. Nada Queda Atrás (Nothing Left Behind) contains forty poems and forty photographs from that collaboration. Published by the Museum of Modern Art Chiloé (2008).

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About Carlos Trujillo

Carlos Trujillo

Carlos Trujillo was born and raised on the island of Chiloé and came to the US where he currently teaches at Villanova University.

Poems reproduced on this website by permission of the publisher/author.

Inspired by Milton's Photography

Poetry by Carlos Trujillo

From the Chile photo series, 1967

Of time, earth and dust
                       (The old man)

The years fell upon me like a landslide
If you look carefully
You will see a mishmash of time, earth and dust
Not just skin and bone
I have always carried my years on my back
I was born old
For since my first cry
I have shouldered
The entire history of my ancestors.

Look at me carefully, I ask you
I am the face of the earth
I am the wrinkled face of the planet
In my face run ravines and rivers
Southern winds and rolling stones
Open seas and hills

Look at me carefully, I ask you
Even my poor clothing is the face of the earth
My dusty jacket of other old yesterdays
Inhabits days and nights at the same time
With the brush of an artist
Shadow and light painting mysterious reliefs

Immense lapels that have never seen an iron
One resting against his chest like a book cover
The other peering out of the corner of its eye like a sail
A small beam of sunlight upon the heart
The slightest beam of sunlight
Upon the heart
Is all that life needs to live

Look at my face, I ask you
Look at my lips, thick on a planetary scale
Look at my solid, godly nose of dark stone
Look at my eyes, they have seen it all
And would see it all again
Look at my cheeks, raised like hills
By the pride of my people
Look at my thinned hair and the wrinkles on my forehead
Look at the beret that has lived upon my head
For as long as I can remember
Look at the thick boards of the wall behind me
Look at its years, discover its stories
Look at the tree that branches out happy
To be a southern tree, drinker of a thousand rains and thunders
Look at the white angel wings it has begun to grow.

Look at my face
And you will see the whole world.

[Back to top.]

De tiempo, tierra y polvo
(El anciano)

Los años en derrumbe se me echaron encima
Si miras bien
Verás un amasijo de tiempo, tierra y polvo
No sólo carne y huesos
Siempre llevé todos mis años encima
Nací anciano
Porque desde el primer grito
Me eché encima
Toda la historia de mis antepasados.

Mírenme bien, les pido
Soy el rostro de la tierra
Soy el rostro arrugado del planeta
En mi rostro van las quebradas y los ríos
El viento del sur y las piedras que ruedan
Los mares abiertos y los cerros

Mírenme bien, les pido
Hasta mi pobre ropa es el rostro de la tierra
Mi vestón empolvado de otros viejos ayeres
Habita al mismo tiempo los días y las noches
Con su pincel de artista
Sombras y luces dibujando misteriosos relieves

Las solapas inmensas que nunca han visto plancha
Una pegada al pecho como tapa de libro
La otra mirando de reojo como vela de lancha
Un rayito de sol sobre el corazón
Un mínimo rayito de sol
Sobre el corazón
Es todo lo que necesita la vida para vivir

Mírenme el rostro, les pido
Miren mis labios gruesos de escala planetaria
Miren mi maciza nariz de dios de piedra oscura
Miren mis ojos que lo han mirado todo
Y todo lo volverían a mirar otra vez
Miren mis pómulos levantados como cerros
Por el orgullo de mi raza
Miren mi cabello enrarecido y las arrugas de mi frente
Miren mi boina que ha vivido en mi cabeza
Desde que tengo conciencia
Miren las gruesas tablas de la pared del fondo
Mírenle los años, descúbranle sus cuentos
Miren el árbol que se extiende contento
De ser árbol sureño, bebedor de mil lluvias y de truenos
Mírenle las blancas alas de ángel que le han comenzado a aparecer.

Mírenme el rostro
Y verán el mundo entero.


From the Chile photo series, 1967

Neither butterflies nor apples

"A child's little feet
Blue from the cold
As you see them and as they cover you, my God."
– Gabriela Mistral


"The child's foot does not yet know that it is a foot
And it wants to be a butterfly or an apple."
– Pablo Neruda


Little feet portrayed by Mistral
Recited by teachers
Blessed and wept over by mothers
Forgive us all
For remaining blue over there
As if you did not exist.

Happy and beautiful is the foot of the Nerudian child
That does not yet know that it is a foot.

These that you see here
They know it
The mourn it
And they suffer it

Ah to be incapable of dreaming
Even for just one night
That you are graceful butterflies
Or apples!

[Back to top.]

Ni mariposas ni manzanas

"Piececitos de niño
azulosos de frío
cómo os ven y no os cubren, Dios mío"
– Gabriela Mistral


"El pie del niño aun no sabe que es pie
y quiere ser mariposa o manzana."
– Pablo Neruda


Piececitos retratados por la Mistral
Declamados por las maestras
Bendecidos y llorados por las madres
Perdonadnos a todos
Por seguir azulosos por allí
Como si no existiérais.

Feliz y hermoso el pie del niño nerudiano
Que aún no sabe que es pie.

Estos que veis aquí
Lo saben
Lo duelen
Y lo sufren

¡Ay no poder soñarse
Aunque fuera una noche
Gráciles mariposas
O manzanas!