The Heavenly Poets 

by Pablo Neruda

What have you done
you intellectualists? Rilkistas?
you fucked up mystifiers, fake witches?
existential poppies shining on a tomb?
you pale grubs in the capitalist cheese?
What did you do
about this dark human being?
about this head
submerged in shit?
this essence
of raw life?

You didn’t do anything but run:
you sold piles of debris
you looked for heavenly hairs
cowardly plants, broken fingernails
“Pure Beauty” “Spell”.
Your works were those of the poor and terrified
trying to keep your eyes from looking
trying to protect their delicate tangle of pupils
so you could make for your living
a plate of dirty scraps which the masters flung at you.
Without seeing that the stones are in agony,
without defending,
in the cemetery when the rain soaks the motionless
rotten flowers on the grave.

Translated by Anna Beth Young

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