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Saturday, February 7, 2015


I have posted THE CAPTAIN'S PRAYER previously.The Captain hands Maqroll "a paper in a plastic cover so smeared with the grease, mud, and grime that had accumulated with the passage of time and the touch of countless hands, that it was almost impossible to read the text, written on both sides of the paper in a haughty, angular, and defiantly clear feminine hand.  I'll transcribe the captain's prayer as I wait for us the reach the rapids"

from The Snow of the Admiral
By Alvaro Mutis

    High calling of my protectors, those who have gone
before me, my constant guides and mentors,

     come now in this moment of danger, extend your sword,
with firmness uphold the law of your purpose,

    revoke the disorder of birds and creatures of evil omen,
wash clean the hall of innocents

    where the vomit of the rejected congeals like a sign of
misfortune, where the garments of the supplicant

     are a blemish that deflects our compass, makes our cal-
culations uncertain, our forecasts mistaken.

    I invoke your presence at this hour and deplore with all
my heart the manacles of my equivocations:

    my pact with man-eating leopards in the mangers,

    my weakness and tolerance for serpents that shed their
skin at the mere shout of lost hunters,

    my communion with bodies that have passed from hand
to hand like a staff to ford a stream, and on whose skin the
saliva of the humble is crystallized,

    my ability to contrive the lie of power and cleverness
that moves my brothers away from upright steadiness in
their purposes,

    my carelessness in proclaiming your power in customs
offices and guardrooms, in pavilions of sorrow and on pleas-
ure boats, in guard towers along the border and in the corri-
dors of the powerful.

    Wipe away in a single stroke all this misfortune and in-
famy, save me,

    certain of my obedience to your bitter laws, your abu-
sive haughtiness, your distant occupations, your desolate

    I give myself completely to the domination of your unob-
jectionable mercy, and with all humility I prostrate myself
at your feet

    to remind you that I am a traveler in mortal danger, that
my ghost is worth nothing, that those who perish far from
home are like trash swept into a corner of the market,

    that I am your servant and am helpless, and that these
words contain the unalloyed metal of one who has paid the

    owed to you now and forever throughout pale eternity

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