Thursday, January 7, 2010

Vicente, by Miguel Torga - Part I

[Unpublished translation by Luciana Lhullier]

That afternoon, the time the sky showed itself harder and more sinister, Vicente spread his black wings and left. Forty days had already elapsed since, integrated to the group of the chosen ones, he had given entrance in the Ark. But from the first moment everyone saw there was no peace in his spirit. Quiet and frowning, he walked to and fro in continuous agitation, as if that great ship where the Lord had kept life was an outrage to creation itself. In similar disorder - wolves and lambs together in the same fate -, just his black and dry figure kept bitter about God´s procedure. In a silent indignation he asked: - to what purpose were the animals involved in the confusing issue of Babel? What did they have to do with men's fornications, that the Creator wanted to punish? Fair or unfair, the high purposes that determined that flood clashed against a deep feeling of irrepressible repulse. And, the more inexorable prepotency was presented, the more Vicente's revolt increased.

Forty days, however, his weak flesh kept him there. Not even he could explain how they had left Lebanon to the boarding wharf and then, in the Ark, for so long he had received from Noah's servile hands his everyday feed. But he had been able to win. He had, finally, overcome the instinct of self-preservation, and had opened his wings towards the terrible immensity of the sea.

The unusual departure was witnessed by big and small in a quiet and reserved respect . Amazed and dazzled, they saw him, reckless, with an open chest, cross the first fire wall with what God had wanted to prevent him from escaping, and disappear in the distance in the boundaries of space. But nobody said anything. His gesture was, at that moment , the symbol of universal liberation. The conscience, in active protest against the will that divided the beings between the chosen ones and the doomed.

Still, in spite of everyone´s savoring that rescue flavor, and already high, releasead as a thunder, penetrating as a ray, terrible, the voice of God:

- Noah, where is my servant Vicente?

Bipeds and quadrupeds were petrified. On the deck, swept of illusions, a heavy, a silent shroud went down.

(To be continued)