April 11, 2007

Pablo Neruda: Sonnet LXXVIII

Posted in Poetry at 8:00 am by The Lizard Queen

(English translation below the fold)


No tengo nunca más, no tengo siempre. En la arena
la victoria dejó sus pies perdidos.
Soy un pobre hombre dispuesto a amar a sus semejantes.
No sé quién eres. Te amo. No doy, no vendo espinas.

Alguien sabrá tal vez que no tejí coronas
sangrientas, que combatí la burla,
y que en verdad llené la pleamar de mi alma.
Yo pagué la vileza con palomas.

Yo no tengo jamás porque distinto
fuí, soy, seré. Y en nobre
de mi cambiante amor proclamo la pureza.

La muerte es sólo piedra del olvido.
Te amo, beso en tu boca la alegría.
Traigamos leña. Haremos fuego en la montaña.


Never, forever . . . they do not concern me. Victory
leaves a vanishing footprint in the sand.
I live a bedeviled man, disposed, like any other,
to cherish my human affinities. Whoever you are, I love you.

The peddling and plaiting of thorns is not my concern, and many know
this. I am no weaver of bloody crowns. I fought with the frivolous
and the tide of my spirit runs full; and in sober earnest,
my detractors are paid in full with a volley of doves.

Never is no part of me; because I am I with
a difference; was, and will always be so; and I speak
for the pureness of things in the name of my love’s metamorphoses.

Death is the stone into which our oblivion hardens.
I love you. I kiss happiness into your lips. Let us
gather up sticks for a fire. Let us kindle a fire on the mountains.

–Pablo Neruda, 1960



  1. luaphacim said,

    ¡Qué hermosa esta poema es! Me encanta.

  2. Dave Regan said,

    Sweet, I love this poem ^_^ (and the rest of Pablo Neruda’s stuff as well). Interesting translation though, I haven’t seen it before. Where did you find it?

  3. Sí, Neruda esta muy bueno. 🙂

    I got this translation from Five Decades: Poems 1925-1970. Edited and translated from the Spanish by Ben Belitt. New York: Grove, 1974. There are some interesting choices made in the translations, choices I’m not sure I agree with–but, then again, my Spanish isn’t so good, nor is my poetry, so I’m not in much of a position to argue. 🙂

  4. Anthony said,

    Wonderful poem. Thank you so much for sharing this. I absolutely love Neruda’s work.


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