Monday, April 18, 2016

if you ask


If you ask where I have been
I have to say, "It so happens. . ."

I have to talk about the earth turned dark with stones,
and the river which ruins itself by keeping alive;
I only know about objects that birds lose,
the sea far behind us, or my sister crying.
Why so many different places, why does one day
merge with another day? Why does a black night
gather in the mouth? Why are all these people dead?

If you ask where I come from I have to start talking with broken objects,
with kitchenware that has too much bitterness.
with animals quite often rotten,
and with my heavy soul.

What have met and crossed are not memories,
nor the yellow pigeon that sleeps in forgetfulness;
but they are faces with tears,
fingers at the throat,
anything that drops out of the leaves:
the shadowiness of a day already passed by,
of a day fed with our own mournful blood.

Look and see violets, swallows,
all those things we love so much and can see
on the tender greeting-cards with long tails
where time and sweetness are sauntering.
But let's not go deeper than those teeth,
nor bite into the rinds growing over the silence,
because I don't know what to say:
there are so many people dead
and so many sea-walls that the red sun used to split,
and so many heads that the boats hit,
and so many hands that have closed around kisses,
and so many things I would like to forget.

–Pablo Neruda
There Is No Forgetfulness (Sonata)


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