Saturday, July 12


El amor como la resina
de un árbol colmado de sangre
cuelga su extraño olor a germen
del embeleso natural;
entra el mar en el extremismo
o la noche devoradora
se desploma el alma en ti mismo,
suenan dos campanas de hueso
y no sucede sino el peso
de tu cuerpo otra vez vacío.


Love floods the tree of
our blood like a sap
and distills its strange odor from
the seed of our physical ravishment:
the sea enters us utterly
and the ravenous night,
the soul veers out of plumb, and within you
two bells sound in the bone
and nothing remains but your body's
weight on my own, another time spent.

-- Pablo Neruda (b. 12 July 1904)
Tr. Ben Belitt

There is poetry to spare in the hands of a craftsman who caresses the wood or the metal given him to shape with the magic of his craft. The hand of the poet grasps nothing but paper and pen, and gropes for the words to accommodate his thoughts and feelings. That is another useful and necessary labor, but it is an estranging rather than a gregarious one, a symbolic contact in which the writer works only with words, vocables that cannot be touched, caressed, embraced: signs that remain manmade abstractions rather than palpable objects. A hand can make its signature, it can write a number, invent decimal places. It can multiply ciphers and ideas, chapters and cantos, covering all people, all things, with the mathematician's magic. Yet at this stage in his life, Neruda's principal regret was that he had unwittingly trained his hands in ways that separated them from natural objects.

-- Manuel Duran, Introduction to Pablo Neruda: Late and Posthumous Poems 1968-1974 ed. Ben Belitt

Pablo Neruda