Editor’s Note: Last year, Venezuelan poet Rafael Cadenas was declared the winner of the 2022 Cervantes Prize, the highest literary honor in the Spanish-speaking world. He will receive the prize from King Felipe VI of Spain on April 23, 2023. We are proud to share these poems as a tribute to this achievement and his immeasurable influence on Spanish-language letters.
You were given the deep
commission to make plain
as if sculpted
to which is attached
You prepared your language
for that undertaking.
You spoke to men so they would look at themselves
thus taking from them arrogance
that excess that cuts off the path
toward their unsuspected depth.
So much migrating
by lonely roads
of your tone of voice
like one who looks
with vacant eyes.
Translated by Rowena Hill
These texts belong to Variations, an unpublished book dedicated to Rilke that awaits publication soon.