November 28, 2007

Hump Day Poetry: Pablo Neruda

Posted in Poetry at 9:08 pm by The Lizard Queen

Cantos ceremoniales: XIII

Qué podía decir sin tocar tierra?
A quién me dirigía sin la lluvia?
Por eso nunca estuve donde estuve
y no navegué más que de regreso
y de las catedrales no guardé
retrato ni cabellos: he tratado
de fundar piedra mía a plena mano,
con razón, sin razón, con desvarío,
con furia y equilibrio: a toda hora
toqué los territorios del león
y la torre intranquila de la abeja,
por eso cuando vi lo que ya había visto
y toqué tierra y lodo, piedra y espuma mía,
seres que reconocen mis pasos, mi palabra,
plantas ensortijadas que besaban mi boca,
dije: “aquí estoy,” me desnudé en la luz,
dejé caer las manos en el mar,
y cuando todo estaba transparente,
bajo la tierra, me quedé tranquilo.

—Pablo Neruda, 1961

(Translation below the fold:)

What can I say without touching the earth with my hands?
To whom shall I turn without rain?
I have never set foot in the countries I lived in,
every port was a port of return:
I have no post cards, no keepsakes of hair
from important cathedrals: I have built what I could
out of natural stone, like a native, open-handed,
I have worked with my reason, unreason, my caprices,
my fury, and poise: hour after hour
I have touched the domains of the lion
and the turbulent tower of the bee:
having seen what there was to be seen,
having handled the clay and the loam, the spray and the rock,
with those who remember my footprints and words,
the tendrils of plants whose kisses remain on my mouth,
I say: “Here is my place,” stripping myself down in the light
and dropping my hands in the sea,
until all is transparent again
there under the earth, and my sleep can be tranquil.

(Translated by Ben Belitt)

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1 Comment »

  1. Evil Bender said,

    Beautiful. Neruda never ceases to amaze.


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