Varamo n 2


One day in 1923. in the city of Colon (Panama) some state official, when his day at work was finally done and after he collected his paycheck (it was the last day of the month), left the building of ministry where he was employed. Between that moment and the beginning of the next day (in approximately 10 or 12 hours) he wrote a long poem. It has to be highlighted that - once he finished a poem - he didn’t change it at all. Also, in order to capture this event in an unique bubble of time, it has to be mentioned that before that, in almost 50 years of his life, he never wrote a single literary work; nothing preceded and nothing followed this extraordinary event. Inspiration left in the poem itself.

The poem that state official named Varamo wrote that night is “The Song of an Unborn Child” and it became the most important work of modernism in Latin America.


As is ever the way with works of great literary quality that have been fashioned outside the well trodden, and increasingly ubiquitous, standards of literary careers, the story of how this poem was discovered, and then celebrated, is not only nearly as fascinating at the poem itself, but an undeniable part of it’s mythos.

For while Varamo was indeed the dull clerk he was made out to be, in cloth and cut, he was also operating his administrations at a unique time in Panamanian history. This perhaps will only interest the historian, but it is of import. For if Varamo’s grand poem does any damage, it is to prop up the notion that poetry is a kind of swell. A disease that falls upon an individual, granting them great gifts of language.

None the less, it is this unnamed historical context which led to both the nature of the work, and more relevant to this account, to the nature of it’s discovery.

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