Vox Populi

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Pablo Neruda: Ode to the Book (II) translated by Wally Swist

Oda al Libro (II)

Libro

hermoso,

libro,

minimo bosque,

hoja

tras hoja,

huele 

tu papel a element,

eres 

matutino y nocturno,

cereal,

oceamico,

en tus antiguas paginas

cazadores de osos,

fogatas 

cerca del Mississippi,

canoas

en las islas,

mas tarde

caminos 

y caminos,

revalaciones,

pueblos

insurgents,

Rimbaud como un herido

pez sangriento

palpitando en el lodo,

y la hermosura

de la fraternidaad,

piedra por piedra

sube el castillo humamo,

dolores que etretejen

la firmeza,

acciones solidarias,

libro 

occulto 

de bosillo

en bosillo,

la,para

clandestine,

estrella roja.

Nosotros

los poetas

caminantes

exploramos

el mumdo,

en cada puerta

mos recibio la vida,

participamos

en la lucha Terrestre,

Cual fue nuestra victoria?

Un libro,

un libro lleno

de contactos humanos,

de camisas, 

un libro sin soledad, con hombres

y herramientas,

un libro

es la victoria.

Vive y cae

como todos los frutos,

no solo tiene luz,

no solo tiene

sombra,

se apaga,

se deshoja,

se pierde

emtre las calles,

se desploma em la tierra.

Libro de poesia

de manana,

otra vez

Vuelve

a teer nieve y musgo

en tus paginas

para que las pisadas

o los ojos

vayan grabando

huellas:

de nuevo

describenos el mundo,

los manantiales

entre la espesura,

las altas arboledas,

los planetas

polares,

y el hombre

em los caminos,

em los nuevos caminos,

avanzando

en la selva,

en el agua,

en el cielo,

en la desnuda soledad marina,

el hombre 

descubriendo

los ultimos secretos,

el hombre 

regresando

con un libro,

el cazador de vuelta

con un libro,

el campesino

arando

con un libro.


Ode to the Book (II)

Book,

beautiful 

book,

minimalist forest,

sheet

after sheet,

the smell

of your paper 

is elemental,

you are 

morning and evening,

grain,

ocean,

in your old pages 

bear hunters,

bonfires

along the Mississippi,

canoes

on the islands,

much later

roads

and more roads,

revolutions,

public insurgents,

Rimbaud like a wounded man

bloody fish

palpitating in the mud,

and the beauty

of the fraternity,

stone by stone

the castle of humanity rising,

sorrow interwoven

with firmness

and solidarity,

book

concealed

from pocket

to pocket,

clandestine 

lamplight,

red star.

We 

the poets

wander

to explore

the world,

at each door

life greeted us,

we participate

in the earthly struggle.

What was our victory?

A book,

a book filled

with human contacts,

with shirts,

a book

without loneliness, with men

and tools,

a book

is the victory.

It lives and opens

like all fruit,

it not only has light,

it not only has shadow,

it turns itself off

and becomes lost

in the streets,

it drops to the ground.

Book of poetry

of tomorrow,

again there will be snow

and moss 

on your pages

so that our footsteps

or our eyes

may record footprints:

again describe

the world anew,

the springs

in the thicket,

the tall groves,

the polar planets,

and the man

on the streets,

on the new streets,

advancing

in the jungle,

in the water,

in the sky,

in the naked marine solitude,

the man

discovering 

the ultimate secrets,

the man                                

coming back

with a book,

the hunter returning again

with a book,

the peasant 

plowing

with a book.


Translation copyright 2022 Wally Swist. Pablo Neruda’s poem is included in Vox Populi for educational use only.

Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto (1904 – 1973), better known by his pen name and, later, legal name Pablo Neruda was a Chilean poet-diplomat and politician who won the 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature. Neruda became known as a poet when he was 13 years old, and wrote in a variety of styles, including surrealist poems, historical epics, overtly political manifestos, a prose autobiography, and passionate love poems such as the ones in his collection Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair (1924).

Wally Swist (born 1953) is an American poet and writer. 

Pablo Neruda

One comment on “Pablo Neruda: Ode to the Book (II) translated by Wally Swist

  1. Patricia A. Nugent
    September 16, 2022

    I loved books before reading this – now even more.

    Like

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