Chilean Poet and Diplomat, Awarded Nobel Prize for Literature
Pablo Neruda, pen name for Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto
Chilean Poet and Diplomat, Awarded Nobel Prize for Literature
Keeping Quite - Now we will count to twelve and we will all keep still. For once on the face of the earth, let's not speak in any language; let's stop for one second, and not move our arms so much. It would be an exotic moment without rush, without engines; we would all be together in a sudden strangeness. Fisherman in the cold sea would not harm whales and the man gathering salt would look at his hurt hands. Those who prepare green wars, wars with gas, wars with fire, victories with no survivors, would put on clean clothes and walk about with their brothers in the shade, doing nothing. What I want should not be confused with total inactivity. Life is what it is about; I want no truck with death. If we were not so single-minded about keeping our lives moving, and for once could do nothing, perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves and of threatening ourselves with death. Perhaps the earth can teach us as when everything seems dead and later proves to be alive. Now I'll count up to twelve and you keep quiet and I will go.
One time, investigating in the backyard of our house in Temuco the tiny objects and minuscule beings of my world, I came upon a hole in one of the boards of the fence. I looked through the hole and saw a landscape like that behind our house, uncared for, and wild. I moved back a few steps, because I sensed vaguely that something was about to happen. All of a sudden a hand appeared ? a tiny hand of a boy about my own age. By the time I came close again, the hand was gone, and in its place there was a marvelous white sheep. The sheep?s wool was faded. Its wheels had escaped. All of this only made it more authentic. I had never seen such a wonderful sheep. I looked back through the hole, but the boy had disappeared. I went into the house and brought out a treasure of my own: a pinecone, opened, full of odor and resin, which I adored. I set it down in the same spot and went off with the sheep.
To feel the intimacy of brothers is a marvelous thing in life. To feel the love of people whom we love is a fire that feeds our life. But to feel the affection that comes from those whom we do not know, from those unknown to us, who are watching over our sleep and solitude, over our dangers and our weaknesses ? that is something still greater and more beautiful because it widens out the boundaries of our being, and unites all living things. That exchange brought home to me for the first time a precious idea: that all of humanity is somehow together... It won?t surprise you then that I attempted to give something resiny, earthlike, and fragrant in exchange for human brotherhood. Just as I once left the pinecone by the fence, I have since left my words on the door of so many people who were unknown to me, people in prison, or hunted, or alone. This exchange of gifts ? mysterious ? settled deep inside me like a sedimentary deposit.
There we stopped as if within a magic circle, as if guests within some hallowed place, and the ceremony I now took part in had still more the air of something sacred. The cowherds dismounted from their horses. In the midst of the space, set up as if in a rite, was the skull of an ox. In silence the men approached it one after the other and put coins and food in the eye-sockets of the skull. I joined them in this sacrifice intended for stray travelers, all kinds of refugees who would find bread and succor in the dead ox's eye sockets.
Uprooting for the human being is a frustration that, in one way or another, atrophy clarity of his soul.
When I cannot look at your face I look at your feet. Your feet of arched bone, your hard little feet. I know that they support you, and that your sweet weight rises upon them. Your waist and your breasts, the doubled purple of your nipples, the sockets of your eyes that have just flown away, your wide fruit mouth, your red tresses, my little tower. But I love your feet only because they walked upon the earth and upon the wind and upon the waters, until they found me.
Wine stirs the spring, happiness bursts through the earth like a plant, walls crumble, and rocky cliffs, chasms close, as song is born.
You know the streets and no one in either house? Just eyes on the windows. If you do not have to sleep and touches a door will open, you open up to a point and you'll see that it's cold inside, that the house is empty, and wants nothing to you, your stories are worth nothing, and if you insist with your tenderness bite you the dog and cat.
There were thirst and hunger, and you were the fruit. There were grief and the ruins, and you were the miracle.
Walking around happen to get tired of being a man. Happens that I walk into theaters tailors and withered, impenetrable, like a felt swan navigating on a water of origin and ash. Pelquer¡as the smell of it makes me mourn loudly. I just want a break from stones or wool, I just do not want to see establishments or gardens, no more goods, no spectacles, no elevators. Happens I am sick of my feet and my nails and my hair and my shadow. Happens that I get tired of being man. However would be delicious to scare a notary with a lily cut or kill joins nun with a blow on the ear. Would be great to go through the streets with a green knife letting out yells until I died of cold. Do not want to remain rooted in the dark, insecure, stretched out, shivering with sleep, down, into the moist guts of the earth, taking in and thinking, eating every day. do not want so much misery. Do not want to continue to root and a tomb, alone under the ground, cellar with dead numb, dying of grief. 's why Monday burns like oil when it sees me coming with my convict face, and howls on its way like a wounded wheel, and take steps towards evening hot blood. Y pushes me into certain corners, into some moist houses, into hospitals where the bones fly out the window, a certain shoe smelling vinegar, streets hideous as cracks. There are sulfur-colored birds, and hideous intestines hanging over the doors of the houses that I hate, no 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 walk calmly, with eyes, with shoes, with fury, with forgetfulness, step through office buildings and orthopedic shops, and courtyards with clothes hanging from the line: underwear, towels and shirts which weep. Slow dirty tears.
When I sleep every night, what am I called or not called? And when I wake, who am I if I was not I while I slept?
With which stars do they go on speaking, the rivers that never reach the sea?
You made your decision, chestnut, and leaped to earth, burnished and ready, firm and smooth as the small breasts of the islands of America.
They can cut all the flowers, but they can't stop the spring.
We - then - we are not the same.
When we are far from home we never remember their winters. The distance erases the pains of winter, homeless populations, barefoot children in the cold. The art of memory only brings green fields, yellow and red flowers, blue sky of the national anthem.
With your name on my mouth and a kiss that never broke away from yours.
You pervade everything, you, pervade everything.
They started life dreams and stop me, leave your question on my eyelashes.
We came by night to the Fortunate Isles, And lay like fish under the net of our kisses.
Where does the rainbow end, in your soul or on the horizon?
Without doubt I praise the wild excellence.
You start dying slowly... If you do not travel, you have not read the book, if you do not listen to the sounds of life, if you do not appreciate yourself, slowly start dying. Killed while confidence in yourself, when you let others help you. they start dying slowly if you're a slave of your habits, you will always go the same way, if you do not change your routines, if you do not wear different colors, or if you do not talk to strangers, slowly you start dying. , if the passion, the feeling rebellious, and the things that make your eyes shine Vamydarnd, and your heart beats faster, they 're far away... slowly start dying. Though when your job or ur not happy, change it unless you know for sure you do not risk the uncertain, beyond the dreams not go after you, you do not allow yourself, at least once in your life... go beyond the expedient today to start living now! 's risk Now! 's working now! Let it slowly die! Happiness does not forget!
This flesh and the other will be consumed, the flower will doubtless perish without residue, when death--sterile dawn, desiccated dust-- comes one day into the girdle of the haughty island, and you, statue, laughter of man, will remain gazing with the empty eyes that rose up through one and another hand of the absent immortals.
We continued till we came to a natural tunnel which perhaps had been bored through the imposing rocks by some mighty vanished river or created by some tremor of the earth when these heights had been formed, a channel that we entered where it had been carved out in the rock in granite. After only a few steps our horses began to slip when they sought for a foothold in the uneven surfaces of the stone and their legs were bent, sparks flying from beneath their iron shoes - several times I expected to find myself thrown off and lying there on the rock. My horse was bleeding from its muzzle and from its legs, but we persevered and continued on the long and difficult but magnificent path.