No Comment — March 25, 2008, 6:12 am

Neruda – a Song of Despair


Emerge tu recuerdo de la noche en que estoy.
El río anuda al mar su lamento obstinado.

Abandonado como los muelles en el alba.
Es la hora de partir, oh abandonado!

Sobre mi corazón llueven frías corolas.
Oh sentina de escombros, feroz cueva de náufragos!

En ti se acumularon las guerras y los vuelos.
De ti alzaron las alas los pájaros del canto.

Todo te lo tragaste, como la lejanía.
Como el mar, como el tiempo. Todo en ti fue naufragio!

Era la alegre hora del asalto y el beso.
La hora del estupor que ardía como un faro.

Ansiedad de piloto, furia de buzo ciego,
turbia embriaguez de amor, todo en ti fue naufragio!

En la infancia de niebla mi alma alada y herida.
Descubridor perdido, todo en ti fue naufragio!

Te ceñiste al dolor, te agarraste al deseo.
Te tumbó la tristeza, todo en ti fue naufragio!

Hice retroceder la muralla de sombra.
anduve más allá del deseo y del acto.

Oh carne, carne mía, mujer que amé y perdí,
a ti en esta hora húmeda, evoco y hago canto.

Como un vaso albergaste la infinita ternura,
y el infinito olvido te trizó como a un vaso.

Era la negra, negra soledad de las islas,
y allí, mujer de amor, me acogieron tus brazos.

Era la sed y el hambre, y tú fuiste la fruta.
Era el duelo y las ruinas, y tú fuiste el milagro.

Ah mujer, no sé cómo pudiste contenerme
en la tierra de tu alma, y en la cruz de tus brazos!

Mi deseo de ti fue el más terrible y corto,
el más revuelto y ebrio, el más tirante y ávido.

Cementerio de besos, aún hay fuego en tus tumbas,
aún los racimos arden picoteados de pájaros.

Oh la boca mordida, oh los besados miembros,
oh los hambrientos dientes, oh los cuerpos trenzados.

Oh la cópula loca de esperanza y esfuerzo
en que nos anudamos y nos desesperamos.

Y la ternura, leve como el agua y la harina.
Y la palabra apenas comenzada en los labios.

Ese fue mi destino y en él viajó mi anhelo,
y en el cayó mi anhelo, todo en ti fue naufragio!

Oh sentina de escombros, en ti todo caía,
qué dolor no exprimiste, qué olas no te ahogaron.

De tumbo en tumbo aún llameaste y cantaste
de pie como un marino en la proa de un barco.

Aún floreciste en cantos, aún rompiste en corrientes.
Oh sentina de escombros, pozo abierto y amargo.

Pálido buzo ciego, desventurado hondero,
descubridor perdido, todo en ti fue naufragio!

Es la hora de partir, la dura y fría hora
que la noche sujeta a todo horario.

El cinturón ruidoso del mar ciñe la costa.
Surgen frías estrellas, emigran negros pájaros.

Abandonado como los muelles en el alba.
Sólo la sombra trémula se retuerce en mis manos.

Ah más allá de todo. Ah más allá de todo.
Es la hora de partir. Oh abandonado.

The recollection of you emerges from the night in which I am
The river mixes its stubborn saddness with the sea.

Abandoned like the wharves at dawn.
It is the hour of departure, oh foresaken one!

Cold flowers pour over my heart.
Oh pit of debris, ferocious 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 sank everything!

It was the blissful hour of attack and embrace.
The hour of the charm that shown like a lighthouse.

Pilot’s dread, the fury of blind driver,
turbulent inebriation of love, in you sank everything!

In the childhood of mist my soul, winged and wounded.
Lost discoverer, in you sank everything!

You girdled sorrow, you clung to desire,
sadness stunned you, in you sank everything!

I made the wall of shadows recede,
beyond desire and action, I passed on.

Oh flesh, my own flesh, woman whom I loved and lost,
I summon you in the hour of dampness, I raise a song to you.

Like a container you housed endless tenderness.
and the infinite oblivion destroyed you like a container.

There was the black solitude of the islands,
and there, woman of love, your arms embraced me.

There was thirst and hunger, and you were the fruit.
There were grief and ruin, 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 my desire was to you!
How difficult and drunken, how tense and determined.

Graveyard 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 desire,
and in it my longing fell, in you sankeverything!

Oh pit of debris, everything fell into you,
what sadness 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 bloomed in song, you still brake the currents.
Oh pit of debris, open and bitter well.

Pale blind diver, luckless slinger,
lost discoverer, in you sank everything!

It is the hour of departure, the hard cold hour
which the night fastens to all the timetables.

The rustling belt of the sea circles the shore.
Cold stars rise up, black birds migrate.

Deserted like the wharves at dawn.
Only ominous shadow turns in my hands.

Oh farther than everything. Oh farther than everything.

It is the hour of departure. Oh foresaken one!

Pablo Neruda, La Canción desesperada from: Veinte Poemas de amor y una canción despesperada (1924)(S.H. transl.)

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