Museum by Cecilia Meireles

Since the lords are already dead
and cannot fight any more,
their armored plates, with regret,
have sat them down to the game.

On the chessboard there the horses,
the towers, the soldiers, the king… A hand
of iron can almost reach to play;
it lacks only the articulation.

O briefly squared plain
of the chessboard!
Visors lonesome for blood,
for wars which time has undone.

O insatisfied ghosts
of the lords who are no more!
How much of death, without wars,
you, beyond all wars, now engage!

Translated by John Nist