Sunday, September 23, 2018

Neruda Pastoral

photo © Mark Butkus 2008
A Bar None Group translation of Pablo Neruda's poem Pastoral.

Looked always to the mountains, rivers, clouds
Picked up the pen to write about the soaring bird
or the spider in it's web

Never once in control of the pen
The calling came from above
A conduit for the words you read

Rising on the crest of an impulse
With insecurity left behind
How does the wind blow the leaves on a tree?
How does one see while blinded?

Above and beyond
Through the clouds, past the rain
The wind whistles singing it's song
Unaware that summer has ended

Smelling the season's last gasp
Creaking toward Thanksgiving
Passing us by into tomorrow

The river ices over
In search of the isthmus to spring

Do you know what is wanted?
Here, by the lake all is known
The cold air refreshes the meadow and passes
Giving way to summer and the setting sun
When the cicadas sing

I waited for the waves
As they patiently waited for my return

I could see myself roll in
And know in the end
How it feels

To come to a place
To turn back to my sleep
and die laughing
With you next to me.

— Pablo Neruda

The Spanish version of Pablo Neruda's Pastoral can be found here.

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