March 11, 2011

Pablo Neruda: I explain some things

 You'll ask: And where are the lilies?
And the metaphysics covered with poppies?
And the rain that frequently hit your words
filling them with holes and birds

I'll tell you all that happens to me.

I lived in a neighborhood of Madrid,
with bells, with watches, with trees.

From there could be seen the dry face of Castille,
like an ocean of leather.

My house was called The House of Flowers
because there were geraniums everywhere: 
it was a pretty house, with dogs and little ones.

Raul, do you remember?
Do you remember Raul?
Federico, do you remember beneath the ground,
do you remember my house with balconies  in which the light of June drowned flowers in your mouth?

Brother, brother! 
All were big voices, salt in the groceries, aglomorations of palpitating bread, markets of my neighborhood of Arguelles with its statue like a pale inkwell within the merluza birds:
the oil that filled the spoons,
a deep beating of feet and hands filled the streets,
meters, liters, 
sharp essence  of life,
stacked up fish,
with the texture of roofs with a cold sun in which the arrow becomes tired,
delirious fine marble of potatoes,
tomatoes repeated until the sea. 

And one morning everything was burning, 
and one morning the fires came from the earth, 
devoring beings,
and then fire, 
dust since then, 
and from then on blood. 
Bandits with planes and moors, 
bandits with sortijas and duquesas, 
bandits with black friars blessing came from the sky to kill children
and from the streets the blood of children ran simply, like blood of children.

Jackals that the jackal would refuse
Stones that dry thistle would bite and spit out
Vipers that the vipers would hate!

In front of you I've seen the blood of Spain rise to drown itself in one wave of pride and knives.

Treacherous generals: look at my dead house
look at broken Spain:
but from each dead house comes burning metal instead of flowers,
but from each hole of Spain comes Spain,
but from each dead child comes a gun wiht eyes,
but from each crime our born bullets that one day will reach you in the site of your heart.

You will ask, "why does your poetry not speak to us of dreams, of the leaves, of big volcanos of your country of birth?

Come to see the blood in the streets,
Come to see the blood in the streets,
Come to see the blood in the streets!

translated by LigerLily



  1. I love Neruda! cause Im from Chile actually
    'Farewell' is pretty good too if u wana check it
    great post!