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Pablo Neruda Poems

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The Old Women Of The Ocean

To the solemn sea the old women come
With their shawls knotted around their necks
With their fragile feet cracking.

They sit down alone on the shore
Without moving their eyes or their hands
Without changing the clouds or the silence.

The obscene sea breaks and claws
Rushes downhill trumpeting
Shakes its bull's beard.

The gentle old ladies seated
As if in a transparent boat
They look at the terrorist waves.

Where will they go and where have they been?
They come from every corner
They come from our own lives.

Now they have the ocean
The cold and burning emptiness
The solitude full of flames.

They come from all the pasts
From houses which were fragrant
From burnt-up evenings.

They look, or don't look, at the sea
With their walking sticks they draw signs in the sand
And the sea erases their calligraphy.

The old women get up and go away
With their fragile bird feet
While the waves flood in
Traveling naked in the wind.


Triangles

Three triangles of birds crossed 
Over the enormous ocean which extended 
In winter like a green beast. 
Everything just lay there, the silence, 
The unfolding gray, the heavy light 
Of space, some land now and then. 
Over everything there was passing 
A flight 
And another flight 
Of dark birds, winter bodies 
Trembling triangles 
Whose wings, 
Frantically flapping, hardly 
Can carry the gray cold, the desolate days 
From one place to another 
Along the coast of Chile. 
I am here while from one sky to another 
The trembling of the migratory birds 
Leaves me sunk inside myself, inside my own matter 
Like an everlasting well 
Dug by an immovable spiral. 
Now they have disappeared 
Black feathers of the sea 
Iron birds 
From steep slopes and rock piles 
Now at noon 
I am in front of emptiness. It’s a winter 
Space stretched out 
And the sea has put 
Over its blue face 
A bitter mask.


Cat's Dream

How neatly a cat sleeps,

sleeps with its paws and its posture,

sleeps with its wicked claws,

and with its unfeeling blood,

sleeps with all the rings—

a series of burnt circles—

which have formed the odd geology

of its sand-colored tail.



I should like to sleep like a cat,

with all the fur of time,

with a tongue rough as flint,

with the dry sex of fire;

and after speaking to no one,

stretch myself over the world,

over roofs and landscapes,

with a passionate desire

to hunt the rats in my dreams.



I have seen how the cat asleep

would undulate, how the night

flowed through it like dark water;

and at times, it was going to fall

or possibly plunge into

the bare deserted snowdrifts.

Sometimes it grew so much in sleep

like a tiger's great-grandfather,

and would leap in the darkness over

rooftops, clouds and volcanoes.



Sleep, sleep cat of the night,

with episcopal ceremony

and your stone-carved moustache.

Take care of all our dreams;

control the obscurity

of our slumbering prowess

with your relentless heart

and the great ruff of your tail.


Walking Around

It so happens I am sick of being a man.
And it happens that I walk into tailorshops
and movie houses
dried up, waterproof, like a swan made of felt
steering my way in a water of wombs and ashes.

The smell of barbershops makes me break
 into hoarse sobs.
The only thing I want is to lie still like stones or wool.
The only thing I want is to see no more stores, no gardens,
no more goods, no spectacles, no elevators.

It so happens that I am sick of my feet and my nails
and my hair and my shadow.
It so happens I am sick of being a man.

Still it would be marvelous
to terrify a law clerk with a cut lily,
or kill a nun with a blow on the ear.
It would be great
to go through the streets with a green knife
letting out yells until I died of the cold.

I don't want to go on being a root in the dark,
insecure, stretched out, shivering with sleep,
going on down, into the moist guts of the earth,
taking in and thinking, eating every day.

I don't want so much misery.
I don't want to go on as a root and a tomb,
alone under the ground, a warehouse with corpses,
half frozen, dying of grief.

That's why Monday, when it sees me coming
with my convict face, blazes up like gasoline,
and it howls on its way like a wounded wheel,
and leaves tracks full of warm blood leading
 toward the night.

And it pushes me into certain corners, into
some moist houses,
into hospitals where the bones fly out the window,
into shoeshops that smell like vinegar,
and certain streets hideous as cracks in the skin.

There are sulphur-colored birds, and hideous intestines
hanging over the doors of houses that I hate,
and there are false teeth forgotten in a coffeepot,
there are mirrors
that ought to have wept from shame and terror,
there are umbrellas everywhere, and venoms,
and umbilical cords.
   
I stroll along serenely, with my eyes, my shoes,
my rage, forgetting everything,
I walk by, going through office buildings and
 orthopedic shops,
and courtyards with washing hanging from the line:
underwear, towels and shirts from which slow
dirty tears are falling.


The Fickle One

My eyes went away from me
Following a dark girl who went by.

She was made of black motherofpearl
Made of darkpurple grapes,
And she lashed my blood
With her tail of fire.

After them all I go.

A pale blonde went by
Like a golden plant
Swaying her gifts.
And my mouth went
Like a wave
Discharging on her breast
Lightningbolts of blood.

After them all I go.

But to you, without my moving,
Without seeing you, distant you,
Go my blood and my kisses,
My dark one and my fair one,
My broad one and my slender one,
My ugly one, my beauty,
Made of all the gold
And of all the silver,
Made of all the wheat
And of all the earth,
Made of all the water
Of sea waves,
Made for my arms
Made for my kisses,
Made for my soul.


Some Beasts

It was the twilight of the iguana:

From a rainbowing battlement,
a tongue like a javelin
lunging in verdure;
an ant heap treading the jungle,
monastic, on musical feet;
the guanaco, oxygen-fine
in the high places swarthed with distances,
cobbling his feet into gold;
the llama of scrupulous eye
the widens his gaze on the dews
of a delicate world.

A monkey is weaving
a thread of insatiable lusts
on the margins of morning:
he topples a pollen-fall,
startles the violet-flight
of the butterfly, wings on the Muzo.

It was the night of the alligator:
snouts moving out of the slime,
in original darkness, the pullulations,
a clatter of armour, opaque
in the sleep of the bog,
turning back to the chalk of the sources.

The jaguar touches the leaves
with his phosphorous absence,
the puma speeds to his covert
in the blaze of his hungers,
his eyeballs, a jungle of alcohol,
burn in his head.


Sonata

Neither the heart cut by a piece of glass
in a wasteland of thorns
nor the atrocious waters seen in the corners
of certain houses, waters like eyelids and eyes
can capture your waist in my hands
when my heart lifts its oaks
towards your unbreakable thread of snow.

Nocturnal sugar, spirit
of the crowns,
ransomed
human blood, your kisses
send into exile
and a stroke of water, with remnants of the sea,
neats on the silences that wait for you
surrounding the worn chairs, wearing out doors.

Nights with bright spindles,
divided, material, nothing
but voice, nothing but
naked every day.

Over your breasts of motionless current,
over your legs of firmness and water,
over the permanence and the pride
of your naked hair
I want to be, my love, now that the tears are
thrown
into the raucous baskets where they accumulate,
I want to be, my love, alone with a syllable
of mangled silver, alone with a tip
of your breast of snow.


Ode To Broken Things

Things get broken 
at home 
like they were pushed 
by an invisible, deliberate smasher. 
It's not my hands 
or yours 
It wasn't the girls 
with their hard fingernails 
or the motion of the planet. 
It wasn't anything or anybody 
It wasn't the wind 
It wasn't the orange-colored noontime 
Or night over the earth 
It wasn't even the nose or the elbow 
Or the hips getting bigger 
or the ankle 
or the air. 
The plate broke, the lamp fell 
All the flower pots tumbled over 
one by one. That pot 
which overflowed with scarlet 
in the middle of October, 
it got tired from all the violets 
and another empty one 
rolled round and round and round 
all through winter 
until it was only the powder 
of a flowerpot, 
a broken memory, shining dust. 

And that clock 
whose sound 
was 
the voice of our lives, 
the secret 
thread of our weeks, 
which released 
one by one, so many hours 
for honey and silence 
for so many births and jobs, 
that clock also 
fell 
and its delicate blue guts 
vibrated 
among the broken glass 
its wide heart 
unsprung. 

Life goes on grinding up 
glass, wearing out clothes 
making fragments 
breaking down 
forms 
and what lasts through time 
is like an island on a ship in the sea, 
perishable 
surrounded by dangerous fragility 
by merciless waters and threats. 

Let's put all our treasures together 
-- the clocks, plates, cups cracked by the cold -- 
into a sack and carry them 
to the sea 
and let our possessions sink 
into one alarming breaker 
that sounds like a river. 
May whatever breaks 
be reconstructed by the sea 
with the long labor of its tides. 
So many useless things 
which nobody broke 
but which got broken anyway.


Lost In The Forest

Lost in the forest, I broke off a dark twig
and lifted its whisper to my thirsty lips:
maybe it was the voice of the rain crying,
a cracked bell, or a torn heart.

Something from far off it seemed
deep and secret to me, hidden by the earth,
a shout muffled by huge autumns,
by the moist half-open darkness of the leaves.

Wakening from the dreaming forest there, the hazel-sprig
sang under my tongue, its drifting fragrance
climbed up through my conscious mind

as if suddenly the roots I had left behind
cried out to me, the land I had lost with my childhood—-
and I stopped, wounded by the wandering scent.
© by owner. provided at no charge for educational purposes


The Weary One

The weary one, orphan
of the masses, the self,
the crushed one, the one made of concrete,
the one without a country in crowded restaurants,
he who wanted to go far away, always farther away,
didn't know what to do there, whether he wanted
or didn't want to leave or remain on the island,
the hesitant one, the hybrid, entangled in himself,
had no place here: the straight-angled stone,
the infinite look of the granite prism,
the circular solitude all banished him:
he went somewhere else with his sorrows,
he returned to the agony of his native land,
to his indecisions, of winter and summer.






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