Tale of the Brick Maker, of San Jeronimo, Peru [In English and Spanish]

Tale of the Brick Maker,
Of San Jerónimo, Peru
[A Cup of Sorrow]


In the Andean mountains, within the

Mantaro Valley region of Peru,
Isolated, secluded, tranquil, is the little

village of San Jerónimo.
Near the village, here lay the fertile valley

with bent-grass, and huge
Mountains stretching northbound,

And heading towards the ocean's coast.

The old man had hands like a farmer's

was raised on labor and ceaseless;
He made bricks from the mountain's clay,

baked them, from nearby firewood, and found
Serenity from the suns rays, as it sank

each night into twilight.

And so Augusto lived, directing his

household somewhat apart from the village,
Not a wealthy man, a brick maker, with

goodly acres of land; he now was a
Man of four and eighty winters, resting.

Happy and healthy was he, an ox of a man

with leathered skin, and dark eyes;
Yet how delicately they shinned.

Thus, at peace with God and man
and himself; the old brick maker.


I sat back in the Plaza de Arms, of Lima, Peru

listened to the tale of this old man,
And his Bride of long ago?a story never before

told?these were days forlorn and desolate
Night after night, when the city was

asleep, he tried to make a living,
But it seemed like the sun was always dark

in those days, with naught in his pockets
But a twig from a branch of a tree.

He hadn't eaten for a few days, so the old

man said?, he was quite young back then;
Wandering the streets, the quiet way,

elastic and descending were his legs,
As if they were broken wings,. No jobs

in the city, now at trails end?
He needed a friend?thus he sat down

on some empty feverish steps, silent.

Moistening his lips, looking up, he saw---

(eyes half dead)
A little girl's face looking down at him.

All was ended now, the hope that
Might had been; now restless; a vanished vision;

an unsatisfying longing.

"Sir, can I help you? Why are you so sad?"

spoke the little ten year old.
A dull deep pain, reached Augusto's lips,

not knowing what to say;
And did it matter anyway, "Eh!" he replied.

She said once more, to the bewildered
Man, "Ssir, why are you so sad?"

Hundreds of feet walked by, where she

stood, he sat, "Miss, I can't pay the rent!"
Embarrassed, deep-voiced, he looked back down.

Within an hour's time, the little girl
Was back, full of life, and with a check?

paying the rent a month in advance?!


But this is not where the story ends my friend,

it was really just the beginning.
As the old man in the park, sat back, we all

Wondered, and asked:
What ever happened to the little girl?

(all several of us now enchanted with his tale);
But he just laughed?. Said I,

"What sir is so funny?"
He replied: "I came back, six years later,

and married her."
And you could see the twinkle in his eyes, for

she had been long dead, and he missed her.
And that was all he said?.

#757 7/10/05

Spanish Version

Translated by: Nancy Penaloza
Edited by: Rosa Penaloza

Un Cuento del Ladrillero

De San Jerónimo de Tunán


En las montañas Andinas, dentro de la región
Del Valle del Mantaro de Perú,
Encerrado, aislado, tranquilo, está el pequeño
Pueblo de San Jerónimo.
Cerca al pueblo, aquí descansa el valle fértil
Con franjas verdes, y enormes
Montañas estirándose desplazándose hacia el norte,
y encabezando hacia la costa del océano.

El anciano tenía manos como el de un agricultor
Fue enaltecido en el trabajo e incesante;
El hizo ladrillos con la arcilla de la montaña,
Cociéndolos con leña en un cercano horno, y encontró
La serenidad de los rayos del sol, así como estos se hundían
Cada noche dentro del crepúsculo.

Y así, Augusto vivió, dirigiendo su
Casa algo aparte de su pueblo,
No un hombre rico, un ladrillero, con
Preciosos acres de tierra; él era ahora un
Hombre de 84 inviernos, descansando.

Feliz y saludable él era, como un buey era el hombre
Con la piel curtida, y ojos oscuros;
Todavía cuán delicadamente ellos brillaban.
Así, en paz con Dios y el hombre
Y el mismo; el viejo ladrillero.


Me senté de nuevo en la plaza de armas, de Lima, Perú
Escuchando el cuento de este viejo hombre,
Y su novia de hace mucho... Una historia nunca antes
Contada? estos fueron días desesperados y desolados
Noche tras noche, cuando la ciudad estaba
Dormida, él trataba de ganarse la vida,
Pero parecía como si el sol estuviera siempre oscuro
En aquellos días, con cero en sus bolsillos
Pero con una ramita de la rama del árbol.

El no había comido durante unos días, eso el
anciano dijo..., él era bastante joven entonces;
Peregrinando por las calles, de forma tranquila
Elásticas y caídas eran sus piernas,
Como si fueran alas rotas. Sin trabajo
en la ciudad, ahora en caminos finales?
El necesitaba un amigo?por eso él se sentó
sobre algunas gradas febriles, silencio.

Humedeciendo sus labios, mirando arriba, el vio
(ojos medio muertos)
Una carita de niña mirándolo
Todo había acabado ahora, la esperanza que
podría haber sido; ahora inquieta, una visión esfumada;
un deseo poco satisfactorio

"¿Señor, puedo ayudarle? ¿Por qué esta usted tan triste?"
dijo la pequeña de 10 años de edad.
Un dolor embotado profundo, alcanzo los labios de Augusto,
no sabiendo que decir;
¿Y eso importaba de cualquier manera? "Eh" él respondió
Ella dijo una vez mas, para el desconcierto del
Hombre "¿Ssseñor porque está tan triste?"

Cientos de pies andaban por ahí, donde ella
estuvo de pie, él sentado dijo, "señorita, no puedo pagar la renta"
Avergonzado, con voz muy profunda, él miro hacia abajo.
Dentro de un tiempo aproximado de una hora, la pequeña niña
Estuvo de regreso, llena de vida, y con un cheque...
Pagando la renta un mes adelantado...!


Pero esto no es donde termina la historia mi amigo,
Esto fue realmente justo el comienzo.
Mientras el viejo hombre en el parque, sentado, todos
Maravillados y preguntando:
¿Que le había pasado a la pequeña niña?
(Todos nosotros ahora encantados con su cuento);
Pero él solo sonrió... Dije yo,
"¿Qué es tan gracioso señor?"
El contestó: "regresé, seis años después
y me casé con ella."
Y tu podías ver el centelleo en sus ojos, porque
Ella ya había muerto, y él la extrañaba.
Y eso fue todo lo que dijo...

Dennis Siluk, author and poet, web site http://dennissiluk.tripod.com he will be going to Peru for the presentation of his book, "Spell of the Andes," in October; he lives in Peru and Minnesota

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Walt Whitman, Romance With a Stranger

The concept of brief encounters, even romantic encounters, with a... Read More

Savage Nature: The Life of Ted Hughes

One of the most important poets of the post-war period,... Read More

Since Youve Been Gone...

My life has changedin so so many waysIt seems to... Read More

Four Poems: Two for the Devil, Two for Peru

Here is some witty poetry (not sure if that is... Read More


How I wonder what he's doing as I sit alone... Read More

A Death in Cajamarca, Peru (Atahualpa, in Cajamarca ((in English and Spanish))

The Epic Poem:A Death in Cajamarca, Peru [Atahualpa, in Cajamarca]Advance:... Read More