Pablo Neruda

Country: Chile
Language(s): Spanish

I’m going to wrinkle this word,
I’m going to twist it,
yes, it
is too smooth,
as if a large dog or a large lake
had passed its tongue or water over it, over it,
for years. Years.

I need ferrous salt
in the word, I want the desdentada
of land,
iron salt in the word,
the blood
of those who have spoken and those who have not spoken.

I want to spit the thirst
inside the syllables:
I want to lick the fire
in the sound:
I want to hear the darkness
in the cry. I want to
spit the words,
words stone as virgins.

Translated by Anna Beth Young

The Heavenly Poets 

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