All must be remembered:
a turning wind, the threads
in the threadbare event must be gathered,
yard after yard of all we inhabited,
the train’s long trajectory,
and the trappings of sorrow.
Should a rosebush be lost
or a hare be confused with the night,
should the pillars of memory
topple out of my reach,
I must remake the air,
the steam and the soil and the leaves,
my skin and the bricks in the wall,
the thorn in my flesh
and the haste of my flight.
Pity the poor poet!
I was always an avid forgetter:
in my two human hands
only the untouchable things of the world
and the power of comparison required
nothing less than their total destruction.
Smoke came like a smell,
and smell passed like a smoke,
the skin of a body asleep
that woke to my kisses:
no one asked for the date
or the name of my dream;
I am powerless to measure the road
that leads to no country, perhaps,
or the truth’s pure mutation
that might blow itself out in the daylight
or afterword change to the glow
of a firefly’s vagary at night.
copyright Pablo Neruda