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    Monday, April 24, 2006

    National Poetry Month: Poem for the Day

    Love For This Book
    by Pablo Neruda

    Translated by Clark Zlotchew and Dennis Maloney

    In these lonely regions I have been powerful

    in the same way as a cheerful tool

    or like untrammeled grass which lets loose its seed

    or like a dog rolling around in the dew.

    Matilde, time will pass wearing out and burning

    another skin, other fingernails, other eyes, and then

    the algae that lashed our wild rocks,

    the waves that unceasingly construct their own whiteness,

    all will be firm without us,

    all will be ready for the new days,

    which will not know our destiny.



    What do we leave here but the lost cry

    of the seabird, in the sand of winter, in the gusts of wind

    that cut our faces and kept us

    erect in the light of purity,

    as in the heart of an illustrious star?



    What do we leave, living like a nest

    of surly birds, alive, among the thickets

    or static, perched on the frigid cliffs?

    So then, if living was nothing more than anticipating

    the earth, this soil and its harshness,

    deliver me, my love, from not doing my duty, and help me

    return to my place beneath the hungry earth.



    We asked the ocean for its rose,

    its open star, its bitter contact,

    and to the overburdened, to the fellow human being, to the wounded

    we gave the freedom gathered in the wind.

    It's late now. Perhaps

    it was only a long day the color of honey and blue,

    perhaps only a night, like the eyelid

    of a grave look that encompassed

    the measure of the sea that surrounded us,

    and in this territory we found only a kiss,

    only ungraspable love that will remain here

    wandering among the sea foam and roots.


    From The House in the Sand by Pablo Neruda. Copyright © 1966, 2004 by Fundacion Pablo Neruda. Translation copyright © 1990, 2004 by Dennis Maloney and Clark Zlotchew. Reprinted by permission of White Pine Press. All rights reserved.

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