Pablo Neruda

Poetry

English
Spanish

Youth

Acid and sword blade: the fragrance
of plum in the pathways:
tooth’s sweetmeat of kisses,
power and spilth on the fingers,
the yielding erotic of pulps,
hayricks and threshing floors, clandestine
recesses that tempt through the vastness of houses;
bolsters asleep in the past, the bitter green valley,
seen from above, from the glasses’ concealment;
and drenching and flaring by turns, adolescence
like a lamp overturned in the rain.

“Youth” from General Song, 1950
Published in Selected Poems of Pablo Neruda
Edited and translated by Ben Belitt
Copyright © Fundación Pablo Neruda, 2009

 

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

 

The Poet

That time when I moved among happenings
in the midst of my mournful devotions; that time
when I cherished a leaflet of quartz,
at gaze in a lifetime’s vocation.
I ranged in the markets of avarice
where goodness is bought for a price, breathed
the insensate miasmas of envy, the inhuman
contention of masks and existences.
I endured in the bog-dweller’s element; the lily
that breaks on the water in a sudden
disturbance of bubbles and blossoms, devoured me.
Whatever the foot sought, the spirit deflected,
or sheered toward the fang of the pit.
So my poems took being, in travail
retrieved from the thorn, like a penance,
wrenched by a seizure of hands, out of solitude;
or they parted for burial
their secretest flower in immodesty’s garden.
Estranged to myself, like shadow on water,
that moves through a corridor’s fathoms,
I sped through the exile of each man’s existence,
this way and that, and so, to habitual loathing;
for I saw that their being was this: to stifle
one half of existence’s fullness like fish
in an alien limit of ocean. And there,
in immensity’s mire, I encountered their death;
Death grazing the barriers,
Death opening roadways and doorways.

“The Poet” from General Song, 1950
Published in Selected Poems of Pablo Neruda
Edited and translated by Ben Belitt
Copyright © Fundación Pablo Neruda, 2009

 

Stationary Point

I would know nothing, dream nothing:
who will teach my non-being
how to be, without striving to be?

How can the water endure it?
What sky have the stones dreamed?

Immobile, until those migrations
delay at their apogee
and fly on their arrows
toward the cold archipelago.

Unmoved in its secretive life,
like an underground city,
so the days may glide down
like ungraspable dew:
nothing fails, or shall perish,
until we be born again,
until all that lay plundered
be restored with the tread
of the springtime we buried—
the unceasingly stilled, as it lifts
itself out of non-being, even now,
to be flowering bough.

“Stationary Point” from Voyages and Homecomings, 1959
Published in Selected Poems of Pablo Neruda
Edited and translated by Ben Belitt
Copyright © Fundación Pablo Neruda, 2009
Poems selected by the Nobel Library of the Swedish Academy

To cite this section
MLA style: Pablo Neruda – Poetry. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Media AB 2021. Fri. 7 May 2021. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/literature/1971/neruda/poetry/>

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