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Pablo Neruda: Oda a las nubes (Ode to clouds)

translation by Wally Swist

 Oda a las nubes


Nubes del cielo Sur,
nubes aladas,
nubes
de impeccable vapor, trajes del cielo,
petales, peces puras
del estia,
boca arriba en el pasto, en las arenas
de toda el cielo suis
las muchachas celestes,
la seda al sol, la primavera blanca,
la juventud del cielo.
Derramadas, corriendo
apenas 
sostenidas
por el aire,
plumones
de la luz, nidos
del agua!
Ahora un solo
Ribete 
de combustion, de ira
enciende
las praderas 
celestials
y los aimendras
en flor,
la equinoccial
lavandeia
es devorada
por leopardos
verdes,
contados por allanjes,
atacadas por
bocas
incendiarias.
Nubes desesperadas
y pumtuales
en el fallecimiento
del sol
de cada dia,
baile
ritual
de todo
el horizonte,
apemas
si cruzan el aspacio
lentas, aves del mar, vuelos
sobre la perspectiva,
se desgarran las nubes,
se disuelve
la luz del ahanica delirante,
vida y fuego no existen, eran solo
ceremonias del cielo.
Pero a ti, nuberrona
de tempestad, reserve
aquel espacio
de monte a mar, de sombra,
de panico y tinieblas sobre al mundo,
sea sobre las haces
de la espuma
en la joche iracunda
del oceano
o sobre la callada
cabellera
de los bosques nocturnos,
nube, tinta de acero
desparramas,
algodones de luto en que se ahogan
las palidas estrellas.

De tu paraguas cae
con densidad de plomo
la oscuridad y ponto
agua elecreica y humo
tiemblan como banderas
oscuras, sacudidas
por el mieda.

Riegas
y unes
tu oscuridad al sueno
de las negras raices,
y asi de la tormenta
sale a la luz
de nueva 
el esplendor terrestre.

Nube
de primavera, nave
alorosa, pura
azucena
del cielo,
manto de viuda desdichada,
negra madre del truena,
quiera un traje de nube,
una camisa
de vuestras materiales,
y llevadme en el hila
de la luz o en al
caballa de la sambra
a recorrer el cielo, todo el cielo.

Asi tocare bosques, arreciles,
cruzare cataratas y ciedades,
vera la inimidad del universa,
basta que con la lluvia
regesare a la tierra
a conversar en paz con las raices.


---


Ode to Clouds



Clouds of the southern sky,
winged clouds,
clouds 
of impeccable vapor, suits of the sky,
petals, pure 
summer fish,
uphill in the grass, and the sands,
from all the sky
you are the celestial girls,
silk in the sun, white blooms,
the sky’s youth.
Spilling, running,
barely
supported
by the air,
plumes
of the light, nests
of water!
Now a single
edging
of combustion, of anger
ignites
the celestial
meadows,
and the almond trees
in blossom,
at equinox
this laundry
is devoured
by green
leopards,
cut by cutlasses,
attacked by
fire
hydrants.
Clouds, desperate
and punctual
in death
of the sun,
of each day,
the ritual
dance
of the entire
horizon,
barely
crossing space,
the flights
of slow seabirds
offer perspective,
the clouds tear apart,
the light
of a delirious fan
dissolves,
neither are they life or fire, 
only just
the sky’s celebration.
But to you, storm
cloud, I reserve
that space above
the mountain to sea, of shadow,
of panic and darkness over the world,
be it over the beams
of foam
in the angry night
of the ocean,
or on the hill
of thatch
of nocturnal forests,
cloud, steely ink,
you scatter
cotton balls of mourning in which
the pale stars drown.

The darkness falls
from your umbrella
with the density of lead, and soon
electrified water and smoke
tremble like dark
flags, shaken
by fear.

You water 
and unite 
your darkness
to the dream
of the black roots,
and thus the terrestrial splendor
again emerges
to light
after the storm.

Spring
cloud, fragrant
ship, pure
lily 
of the sky,
unfortunate widow’s cloak,
black mother of thunder,
I would like a suit of clouds,
a shirt
of your material.
Take me by the thread
from the light or to
the horse of shadow
to travel the sky, the entire sky.

So, I will touch forests and reefs,
I will cross waterfalls and cities,
I will see the intimacy of the universe,
until I return to earth
with the rain
to converse in peace with the roots.






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

3 comments on “Pablo Neruda: Oda a las nubes (Ode to clouds)

  1. loranneke
    October 7, 2022

    That seemingly simple way of building a poem, using images like pieces of a puzzle to make a “larger” puzzle with them. It LOOKS easy. Until you try. Damn he’s good! I love Neruda… Thanks for this Ode I don’t remember reading…

    Like

  2. Sean Sexton
    October 7, 2022

    Inimitable Neruda. None like him.
    What keeps me away from him?
    Its like forgetting to pray—Then remembrance comes hard, like too much rain.
    Distance and proximity, equally perilous.

    Like

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