I Want to Go South Again: 1941
Ailing in Vera Cruz, I remember
southern weather, weather
of the fleet fish in the heavens of water,
silvered, in my own country.
Loncoche, Lonquimay, Carahue, large on the summits,
circled by roots and serenities,
chaired upon platforms of rawhide and timber.
South is a stallion, submerging,
in the gradual trees and the dew, garlanded:
green muzzle poised, dropping water,
rump in the great archipelagoes, shadowed
and shimmering, ceremonial coal in his bowels.
Shade: will you never—finger and limb: will you never—
rivalries, portals and footfalls: are you never
to startle the jungles, the pathways and corn tassels,
mist, and cerulean cold that appoints you
the range of your wayfaring, endlessly vanishing?
Sky: conjure the day when I move in an orbit of stars,
trampling the lights and the powders, consuming my blood
till I nest in the eyrie of rain.
Permit that I pass
from the Toltén’s aroma of timber, from the tooth of the sawyer,
drenched to the footsoles, to enter the little cantinas.
Conduct me to light in the hazelnut’s voltage,
measure my length in the offal of cattle
to die and be born again, biting the germens.
Bring out of Ocean
a day of the South, grapple a day from your waves,
day of the watery tree: and summon the polar blue wind
to melt in the cold of my colors!
“I Want to Go South Again: 1941” from General Song, 1950
Published in Selected Poems of Pablo Neruda
Edited and translated by Ben Belitt
Copyright © Fundación Pablo Neruda, 2009