La pata gris del Malo pisó estas pardas tierras,
hirió estos dulces surcos, movió estos curvos montes,
rasguñó las llanuras guardadas por la hilera
rural de las derechas alamedas bifrontes.

El terraplén yacente removió su cansancio,
se abrió como una mano desesperada el cerro,
en cabalgatas ebrias galopaban las nubes
arrancando de Dios, de la tierra y del cielo.

El agua entró en la tierra mientras la tierra huía
abiertas las entrañas y anegada la frente:
hacia los cuatro vientos, en las tardes malditas,
rodaban —ululando como tigres— los trenes.

Yo soy una palabra de este paisaje muerto,
yo soy el corazón de este cielo vacío:
cuando voy por los campos, con el alma en el viento,
mis venas continúan el rumor de los ríos.

A dónde vas ahora? —Sobre el cielo la greda
del crepúsculo, para los dedos de la noche.
No alumbrarán estrellas… A mis ojos se enredan
aromos rubios en los campos de Loncoche.

Pablo Neruda, 1923

Ebrio de trementina y largos besos,
estival, el velero de las rosas dirijo,
torcido hacia la muerte del delgado día,
cimentado en el sólido frenesí marino.

Pálido y amarrado a mi agua devorante
cruzo en el agrio olor del clima descubierto,
aún vestido de gris y sonidos amargos,
y una cimera triste de abandonada espuma.

Voy, duro de pasiones, montado en mi ola única,
lunar, solar, ardiente y frío, repentino,
dormido en la garganta de las afortunadas
islas blancas y dulces como caderas frescas.

Tiembla en la noche húmeda mi vestido de besos
locamente cargado de eléctricas gestiones,
de modo heroico dividido en sueños
y embriagadoras rosas practicándose en mí.

Aguas arriba, en medio de las olas externas,
tu paralelo cuerpo se sujeta en mis brazos
como un pez infinitamente pegado a mi alma
rápido y lento en la energía subceleste.

Pablo Neruda, 1924

Oh dama sin corazón, hija del cielo,
auxíliame en esta solitaria hora,
con tu directa indiferencia de arma
y tu frío sentido del olvido.

Un tiempo total como un océano,
una herida confusa como un nuevo ser,
abarcan la tenaz raíz de mi alma
mordiendo el centro de mi seguridad.

Qué espeso latido se cimbra en mi corazón
como una ola hecha de todas las olas,
y mi desesperada cabeza se levanta
en un esfuerzo de salto y de muerte.

Hay algo enemigo temblando en mi certidumbre,
creciendo en el mismo origen de las lágrimas,
como una planta desgarradora y dura
hecha de encadenadas hojas amargas.

Pablo Neruda

You will ask: ‘And where are the lilacs?
And the metaphysics covered with poppies?
And the rain that often beat down
filling its words
with holes and birds.’
 
To you I am going to tell all that happened to me.
 
I lived in a quarter
in Madrid, with bells
with clocks, with trees.
 
From there could be seen
the dry face of Castille
like a sea of leather.
                             My house was named
the house of the flowers, because everywhere
geraniums exploded: it was
a beautiful house
with dogs and little children.
                                            Raúl, you agree?
You agree, Rafael?
                                    Federico, you agree
beneath the earth,
you agree about my house with balconies where
the light of June drowned flowers in your mouth?
                                                                            Brother, brother!
 
All
was loud voices, salt of wares,
agglomerations of pulsating bread,
the markets of my quarter of Argüelles with its statue
like a pallid inkwell amongst the hake:
the olive oil flowed into spoons
a deep pounding
of feet and hands filled the streets,
metres, litres, sharp
essence of life,
                      stacked fish,
the build of roofs with a cold sun on which
the weathervane tires,
the fine frenzied ivory of potatoes,
tomatoes multiplied down to the sea.
 
And one morning all of that burned
and one morning the bonfires
leapt from the earth
devouring beings,
and from that moment fire
gunpowder from that moment,
and from that moment blood.
Thugs with planes, and the Moors,
thugs with signet rings, and duchesses,
thugs with black friars blessing
came through the sky to slaughter children,
and through the streets the blood of the children
flowed easily, like the blood of children.
 
Jackals that the jackal would drive away,
stones that the dry thistle would bite and spit out,
vipers that the vipers would hate!
 
Opposed to you I have seen the blood
of Spain rise up
to drown you, in a single wave
of pride and knives!
Generals
traitors:
consider my dead house,
consider Spain, broken:
but from every dead house burning metal flows
in place of flowers,
but from every hollow of Spain
Spain rises,
but from every dead child rises a gun with eyes,
but from every crime are born bullets
that will find you one day in the house
of the heart.
 
You will ask why his poetry
has nothing of the earth, of the leaves,
of the grand volcanoes of his native country?
 
Come and see the blood through the streets,
come and see
the blood through the streets,
come and see the blood
through the streets!

Pablo Neruda
Translated by A. S. Kline

Antes de mí
no tengo celos.

Ven con un hombre
a la espalda,
ven con cien hombres en tu cabellera,
ven con mil hombres entre tu pecho y tus pies,
ven como un río
lleno de ahogados
que encuentra el mar furioso,
la espuma eterna, el tiempo!

Tráelos todos
adonde yo te espero:
siempre estaremos solos,
siempre estaremos tú y yo
solos sobre la tierra,
para comenzar la vida!

Pablo Neruda

From bristly foliage
you fell
complete, polished wood, gleaming mahogany,
as perfect
as a violin newly
born of the treetops,
that falling
offers its sealed-in gifts,
the hidden sweetness
that grew in secret
amid birds and leaves,
a model of form,
kin to wood and flour,
an oval instrument
that holds within it
intact delight, an edible rose.
In the heights you abandoned
the sea-urchin burr
that parted its spines
in the light of the chestnut tree;
through that slit
you glimpsed the world,
birds
bursting with syllables,
starry
dew
below,
the heads of boys
and girls,
grasses stirring restlessly,
smoke rising, rising.
You made your decision,
chestnut, and leaped to earth,
burnished and ready,
firm and smooth
as the small breasts
of the islands of America.
You fell,
you struck
the ground,
but
nothing happened,
the grass
still stirred, the old
chestnut sighed with the mouths
of a forest of trees,
a red leaf of autumn fell,
resolutely, the hours marched on
across the earth.
Because you are
only
a seed,
chestnut tree, autumn, earth,
water, heights, silence
prepared the germ,
the floury density,
the maternal eyelids
that buried will again
open toward the heights
the simple majesty of foliage,
the dark damp plan
of new roots,
the ancient but new dimensions
of another chestnut tree in the earth.

Pablo Neruda
Translation from poetryconnection.net

How long does a man live, after all?

Does he live a thousand days, or one only?

A week, or several centuries?

How long does a man spend dying?

What does it mean to say ´for ever´?

Lost in these preoccupation
I set myself to clear things up.

I sought out knowledgeable priests.
I waited for them after their rituals,
I watched them when they went their ways
to visit God and the Devil.

They wearied of my questions.
They on their part knew very little;
they were no more than administrators.

Medical men received me
in between consultations,
a scalpel in each hand,
saturated in aureomycin,
busier each day.
As far as I could tell from their talk,
the problem was as follows:
it was not so much the death of a microbe —
they went down by the ton —
-but the few which survived
showeds signs of perversity.

They left me so startled
that I sought out the gravediggers.
I went to the rivers where they burn
enormous painted corpses,
tiny bony bodies,
emperors with an aura
of terrible curses,
women snuffed out at a stroke
by a wave of cholera.
There were whole beaches of dead
and ashy specialists.

When I got the chance
I asked them a slew of questions.
They offered to burn me;
it was the only thing they knew.

In my own country the undertakers
answered me, between drinks:
´Get yourself a good woman
and give up this nonsense.´

I never saw people so happy.

Raising their glasses they sang,
toasting health and death.
They were huge fornicators.

I returned home, much older
after crossing the world.

Now I question nobody.

But I know less every day.

Pablo Neruda
Translation by Alastair Reid

De las estrellas que admiré, mojadas
por ríos y rocíos diferentes,
yo no escogí sino la que yo amaba
y desde entonces duermo con la noche.

De la ola, una ola y otra ola,
verde mar, verde frío, rama verde,
yo no escogí sino una sola ola:
la ola indivisible de tu cuerpo.

Todas las gotas, todas las raíces,
todos los hilos de la luz vinieron,
me vinieron a ver tarde o temprano.

Yo quise para mí tu cabellera.
Y de todos los dones de mi patria
sólo escogí tu corazón salvaje.

Pablo Neruda, 1959

El camino mojado por el agua de Agosto
brilla como si fuera cortado en plena luna,
en plena claridad de la manzana,
en mitad de la fruta del otoño.

Neblina, espacio o cielo, la vaga red del día
crece con fríos sueños, sonidos y pescados,
el vapor de las islas combate la comarca,
palpita el mar sobre la luz de Chile.

Todo se reconcentra como el metal, se esconden
las hojas, el invierno enmascara su estirpe
y sólo ciegos somos, sin cesar, solamente.

Solamente sujetos al cauce sigiloso
del movimiento, adiós, del viaje, del camino:
adiós, caen las lágrimas de la naturaleza.

Pablo Neruda, 1959

And this word, this paper written
by the thousand hands of a single hand
does not rest in you, does not serve for dreams.
It falls to the earth: there it continues.
 
No matter that light or praise
were spilled and rose from the glass
if they were a tenacious tremor of wine,
if your mouth was dyed amaranthine.
 
It no longer needs the lagging syllable
that which the reef brings and withdraws
from my memories, the incensed spume,
 
It no longer needs a single thing but to write your name.
And even though my sombre love silences it
much later the spring will speak it.

Pablo Neruda, 1959
Translation by A. S. Kline