Sunday, March 13, 2005

Pablo Neruda

Great poets transcend the barriers of language, creating original ways of describing the mundane and the beautiful, and Neruda dazzles in translation like any other (Tagore for one)!

‘I do not love you as if you were brine-rose, topaz,’
XVII From: ‘Cien sonetos de amor’

I do not love you as if you were brine-rose, topaz,
or barbed carnations thrown off by the fire.
I love you as certain hidden things are loved,
secretly, between night and soul.

I love you like the flower-less plant
carrying inside itself the light of those flowers,
and, graced by your love, a fierce perfume
risen from earth, is alive, concealed in my flesh.

I love you without knowing how, whence, when.
I love you truly, without doubts, without pride,
I love you so, and know, no other way to love,

none but this mode of neither You nor I,
so close that your hand over my chest is my hand,
so close they are your eyes I shut when I sleep.


The Stroke
From: ‘Las Manos del Dia’
Ink that entrances me
drop by drop
and goes guarding the trail
of my reason and unreason
like a large scar that’s barely
seen when the body’s asleep
in its discourse of dissolution.

Better perhaps if
all your essence
were to have emptied in one drop
and thrown itself on a single page
stained it with a single green star
and that only that stain
were to have been all
I had written in the whole of my life,
without alphabet or interpretations:
a single dark stroke
without words.


I Crave Your Mouth, Your Voice, Your Hair

Don't go far off, not even for a day, because --
because -- I don't know how to say it: a day is long
and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station
when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep.

Don't leave me, even for an hour, because
then the little drops of anguish will all run together,
the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift
into me, choking my lost heart.

Oh, may your silhouette never dissolve on the beach;
may your eyelids never flutter into the empty distance.
Don't leave me for a second, my dearest,
because in that moment you'll have gone so far
I'll wander mazily over all the earth, asking,
Will you come back? Will you leave me here, dying?

Pablo Neruda


Your Feet

When I cannot look at your face
I look at your feet.
Your feet of arched bone,
your hard little feet.
I know that they support you,
and that your sweet weight
rises upon them.
Your waist and your breasts,
the doubled purple of your nipples,
the sockets of your eyes
that have just flown away,
your wide fruit mouth,
your red tresses, my little tower.
But I love your feet
only because they walked
upon the earth and upon
the wind and upon the waters,
until they found me

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