The memory of you emerges from the night around me. The river mingles its stubborn lament with the sea. Deserted like the wharves at dawn. It is the hour of departure, oh deserted one! Cold flower heads are raining over my heart. Oh pit of debris, fierce cave of the shipwrecked. In you the wars and the flights accumulated. From you the wings of the song birds rose. You swallowed everything, like distance. Like the sea, like time. In you everything sank! It was the happy hour of assault and the kiss. The hour of the spell that blazed like a lighthouse. Pilot’s dread, fury of a blind diver, turbulent drunkenness of love, in you everything sank! In the childhood of mist my soul, winged and wounded. Lost discoverer, in you everything sank! You girdled sorrow, you clung to desire, sadness stunned you, in you everything sank! I made the wall of shadow draw back, beyond desire and act, I walked on. Oh flesh, my own flesh, woman whom I loved and lost, I summon you in the moist hour, I raise my song to you. Like a jar you housed the infinite tenderness, and the infinite oblivion shattered you like a jar. There was the black solitude of the islands, and there, woman of love, your arms took me in. There were thirst and hunger, and you were the fruit. There were grief and the ruins, and you were the miracle. Ah woman, I do not know how you could contain me in the earth of your soul, in the cross of your arms! How terrible and brief was my desire of you! How difficult and drunken, how tensed and avid. Cemetery of kisses, there is still fire in your tombs, still the fruited boughs burn, pecked at by birds. Oh the bitten mouth, oh the kissed limbs, oh the hungering teeth, oh the entwined bodies. Oh the mad coupling of hope and force in which we merged and despaired. And the tenderness, light as water and as flour. And the word scarcely begun on the lips. This was my destiny and in it was the voyage of my longing, and in it my longing fell, in you everything sank! Oh pit of debris, everything fell into you, what sorrow did you not express, in what sorrow are you not drowned! From billow to billow you still called and sang. Standing like a sailor in the prow of a vessel. You still flowered in songs, you still broke in currents. Oh pit of debris, open and bitter well. Pale blind diver, luckless slinger, lost discoverer, in you everything sank! It is the hour of departure, the hard cold hour which the night fastens to all the timetables. The rustling belt of the sea girdles the shore. Cold stars heave up, black birds migrate. Deserted like the wharves at dawn. Only the tremulous shadow twists in my hands. Oh farther than everything. Oh farther than everything. It is the hour of departure. Oh abandoned one.
Pablo Neruda - 1904-1973
Love For This Book
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.