Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pablo Neruda and the power of memory


Pablo Neruda

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

live unscathed,

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

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