Three Poems

By Augusto Lunel

Translated by Michael Martin Shea




Resident of the Sun


To my Country you come abandoning every path.

When I think of my Country, my pockets fill.
Cyclopes whose only eye is the sea,
our gaze creates the new day.

When trees think of my Country, spring awakens.

To my Country you come forcing the stars to follow,
opening a hole in the wall, where Saturn passes,
sticking its hand in the depths of the moon.

Loss drives you to my Country.

When you are the sea, my Country arrives on every wave.













Golden Magic


Golden magic!
Cities forever in flames,
in whose towers we are devoured by innocence!

Feed the summer that drives the tigers to fight,
gulfs of the fiery sea, our eyes
would embrace the fleet, set alight to split the sky.

The song of the golden crews hugs the horizon.
All splendor is the spider who weaves the web in which I fall!

The sun is our right paw, its affections
set alight the hairy shadow,
the engrossed gardens you see with,
your hands,
which the great truths uncover with their hands.
The darkest forest is only the pause before a flash.















Insomnia in the Casket


My corpse decomposes deliberately.
I remember the earth turning maggoty with men,
a flock of subterranean birds devour me.

I see the fog – my abandoned home –
where the seagulls, utter fairies,
sweetly illuminate
children burying their batons alive.
I feel there my invalid crutches
of vertiginous silence,
in the ocean my eyes, exploding bubbles.

Will I be able to raise my eyelids, heavy with blackness?
Come into the light, that would heal my corruption,
replace my skin destroyed by darkness,
that would fill the empty sockets
of both eyes to see inside and beyond?













El Habitante del Sol

A mi País se llega dejando todos los caminos.

Cuando pienso en mi País, se llenan mis bolsillos.
Cíclopes cuyo único ojo es el mar,
nuestra mirada provoca el nuevo día.

Cuando los árboles piensan en mi País, nace la primavera.

A mi País se llega haciendo que nos sigan las estrellas,
abriendo un agujero en la pared, que atraviese a Saturno,
metiendo la mano en el fondo de la luna.

A mi País conduce el extravío.

Cuando se es el mar, a mi País se llega en cada ola.















La Magia Dorada


¡Magia Dorada!
¡Ciudades siempre en llamas
en cuyas torres la inocencia nos devora!

Alimentemos el verano que provocan los tigres en la lucha,
golfos del mar de fuego, nuestros ojos
acojan las escuadras, incendiadas al hender el cielo.

El canto de las tripulaciones de oro abrasa el horizonte.
¡Todo resplandor es la araña que hila la red en que caigo!

Las ternuras del sol, que ya es nuestra garra derecha,
hacen arder la sombra con una cabellera,
los jardines absortos con que miras,
tus manos,
que las grandes verdades se descubren con las manos.
El más oscuro bosque tan sólo es llamarada detenida.














Insomnio En El Ataúd


Mi cadáver se pudre conscientemente,
recuerdo la tierra agusanándose de hombres,
me devora una bandada de pájaros subterráneos.

Veo la niebla –mi casa abandonada–
donde pedazos de hada, las gaviotas,
alumbran dulcemente
niños que entierran vivos sus palotes.
Siento allá mis muletas inválidas,
de quietud vertiginosa,
en el océano mis ojos, burbujas estallando.

¿Podré levantar mis párpados, pesados de negrura?
¿Saldré a la luz, que cicatrice mi corrupción,
que remplace mi piel destruída por la oscuridad,
que llene mis vacías cuencas
de sendos ojos para ver por dentro y por fuera?








Augusto Lunel was a Peruvian poet, born either in 1923 or 1925, as either Augusto Gutiérrez or Augusto Sánchez del Ottre (accounts vary). In the 1950s he moved to Mexico City, where he became associated with the city’s literary and cultural elite as part of the transnational neovanguardista movement of the mid-century. His first book, Los Puentes (1955), was published with the assistance of Octavio Paz and illustrated by Leonora Carrington. By the early 1970s, Lunel had moved to France—by some accounts, he stayed in Paris, by others he went south. His second book, Espejos Paralelos, was published in Lima in 1971. He is perhaps most famous for the first line of his untitled manifesto, which is not infrequently invoked by novelist and Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa: “Estamos contra todas las leyes, empezando por la ley de la gravedad” (“We are against every law, beginning with the law of gravity”). According to Vargas Llosa, Lunel was also, at one point, the bodyguard for Charles de Gaulle, though there is little evidence for this claim.

Michael Martin Shea is the author of multiple chapbooks of poetry and hybrid prose, including the forthcoming To Hell With Good Intentions (Beautiful Days Press, 2024). He is also the translator of the Argentine poet Liliana Ponce and has published two chapbooks of Ponce’s work: Diary (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2018) and Fudekara (Cardboard House Press, 2022). His poems and translations have appeared in Colorado Review, Conjunctions, Denver Quarterly, Fence, Guernica, jubilat, New England Review, Poetry and elsewhere. He is currently a doctoral candidate in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania. Since 2015 he has served on the editorial team of the Best American Experimental Writing anthology project.


Poesía en acción is an Action Books blog feature for Latin American and Iberian poetry in translation. It was created by Katherine M. Hedeen and is currently curated and edited by Olivia Lott with web editing by Paul Cunningham.