Poems


  • ‘Carnal Apple, Woman Filled, Burning Moon,’Carnal apple, Woman filled, burning moon,dark smell of seaweed, crush of mud and light,what secret knowledge is clasped between your pillars?What primal night does Man touch with his senses?Ay, Love is a journey through waters and stars,through suffocating air, sharp tempests of grain:Love is a war of lightning,and two bodies ruined by a single sweetness.Kiss ... Read more
  • ‘In the wave-strike over unquiet stones’In the wave-strike over unquiet stonesthe brightness bursts and bears the roseand the ring of water contracts to a clusterto one drop of azure brine that falls.O magnolia radiance breaking in spume,magnetic voyager whose death flowersand returns, eternal, to being and nothingness:shattered brine, dazzling leap of the ocean.Merged, you and I, my love, seal the ... Read more
  • ‘March days return with their covert light’March days return with their covert light, and huge fish swim through the sky,vague earthly vapours progress in secret,things slip to silence one by one.Through fortuity, at this crisis of errant skies,you reunite the lives of the sea to that of fire,grey lurchings of the ship of winterto the form that love carved in the ... Read more
  • ‘Perhaps not to be is to be without your being.’Perhaps not to be is to be without your being,without your going, that cuts noon lightlike a blue flower, without your passinglater through fog and stones,without the torch you lift in your handthat others may not see as golden,that perhaps no one believed blossomedthe glowing origin of the rose,without, in the end, your being, your ... Read more
  • A Dog Has DiedMy dog has died.I buried him in the gardennext to a rusted old machine. Some day I’ll join him right there,but now he’s gone with his shaggy coat,his bad manners and his cold nose,and I, the materialist, who never believedin any promised heaven in the skyfor any human being,I believe in a heaven I’ll never ... Read more
  • A LemonOut of lemon flowersloosedon the moonlight, love’slashed and insatiableessences,sodden with fragrance,the lemon tree’s yellowemerges,the lemonsmove downfrom the tree’s planetarium Delicate merchandise!The harbors are big with it-bazaarsfor the light and thebarbarous gold.We openthe halvesof a miracle,and a clotting of acidsbrimsinto the starrydivisions:creation’soriginal juices,irreducible, changeless,alive:so the freshness lives onin a lemon,in the sweet-smelling house of the rind,the ... Read more
  • A Song Of DespairThe memory of you emerges from the night around me.The river mingles its stubborn lament with the sea. Deserted like the wharves at dawn.It is the hour of departure, oh deserted one! Cold flower heads are raining over my heart.Oh pit of debris, fierce cave of the shipwrecked. In you the wars and the flights ... Read more
  • AbsenceI have scarcely left you When you go in me, crystalline,Or trembling,Or uneasy, wounded by meOr overwhelmed with love, aswhen your eyes Close upon the gift of lifeThat without cease I give you. My love, We have found each otherThirsty and we have Drunk up all the water and theBlood, We found each otherHungry And ... Read more
  • Algunas BestiasEra el crepúsculo de la iguana. Desde la arcoirisada crestería su leengua como un dardo se hundía en la verdura, el hormiguero monacal pisaba con melodioso pie la selva, el guanaco fino como el oxigeno en las anchas alturas pardas iba calzando botas de oro, mientras la llama abria cándidos ojos en la delicadeza del ... Read more
  • AlwaysI am not jealousof what came before me. Come with a manon your shoulders,come with a hundred men in your hair,come with a thousand men between your breasts and your feet,come like a riverfull of drowned menwhich flows down to the wild sea,to the eternal surf, to Time! Bring them allto where I am waiting ... Read more
  • And because Love battlesAnd because love battlesnot only in its burning agriculturesbut also in the mouth of men and women,I will finish off by taking the path awayto those who between my chest and your fragrancewant to interpose their obscure plant. About me, nothing worsethey will tell you, my love,than what I told you. I lived in the ... Read more
  • BirdIt was passed from one bird to another,the whole gift of the day.The day went from flute to flute,went dressed in vegetation,in flights which opened a tunnelthrough the wind would passto where birds were breaking openthe dense blue air –and there, night came in. When I returned from so many journeys,I stayed suspended and greenbetween ... Read more
  • Brown and Agile ChildBrown and agile child, the sun which forms the fruitAnd ripens the grain and twists the seaweedHas made your happy body and your luminous eyesAnd given your mouth the smile of water. A black and anguished sun is entangled in the twigsOf your black mane when you hold out your arms.You play in the sun ... Read more
  • Canto XII from The Heights of Macchu PicchuArise to birth with me, my brother.Give me your hand out of the depthssown by your sorrows.You will not return from these stone fastnesses.You will not emerge from subterranean time.Your rasping voice will not come back,nor your pierced eyes rise from their sockets. Look at me from the depths of the earth,tiller of fields, weaver, ... Read more
  • Castro Alves From BrazilCastro Alves from Brazil, for whom did you sing? Did you sing for the flower? For the water whose beauty whispered words to the stones? Did you sing to the eyes, to the torn profileof the woman you once loved? For the spring? Yes, but those petals were not dewed, those black waters had no ... Read more
  • Cat's DreamHow neatly a cat sleeps,sleeps with its paws and its posture,sleeps with its wicked claws,and with its unfeeling blood,sleeps with all the rings–a series of burnt circles–which have formed the odd geologyof its sand-colored tail. I should like to sleep like a cat,with all the fur of time,with a tongue rough as flint,with the dry ... Read more
  • Chant to BolivarOur Father thou art in Heaven, in water, in airin all our silent and broad latitudeeverything bears your name, Father in our dwelling: your name raises sweetness in sugar caneBolivar tin has a Bolivar gleamthe Bolívar bird flies over the Bolivar volcanothe potato, the saltpeter, the special shadows, the brooks, the phosphorous stone veinseverything comes ... Read more
  • Clenched SoulWe have lost even this twilight.No one saw us this evening hand in handwhile the blue night dropped on the world. I have seen from my windowthe fiesta of sunset in the distant mountain tops. Sometimes a piece of sunburned like a coin in my hand. I remembered you with my soul clenchedin that sadness ... Read more
  • Death AloneThere are lone cemeteries,tombs full of soundless bones,the heart threading a tunnel,a dark, dark tunnel : like a wreck we die to the very core,as if drowning at the heartor collapsing inwards from skin to soul. There are corpses,clammy slabs for feet,there is death in the bones,like a pure sound,a bark without its dog,out of ... Read more
  • Don't Go Far OffDon’t go far off, not even for a day, because — because — I don’t know how to say it: a day is long and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep. Don’t leave me, even for an hour, because then the ... Read more
  • Drunk as DrunkTranslated from the Spanish by Christopher Logue Drunk as drunk on turpentineFrom your open kisses,Your wet body wedgedBetween my wet body and the strakeOf our boat that is made of flowers,Feasted, we guide it – our fingersLike tallows adorned with yellow metal –Over the sky’s hot rim,The day’s last breath in our sails. Pinned by ... Read more
  • Enigma with FlowerVictory. It has come late, I had not learnthow to arrive, like the lily, at will,the white figure, that piercesthe motionless eternity of earth,pushing at clear, faint, form,till the hour strikes: that clay,with a white ray, or a spur of milk.Shedding of clothing, the thick darkness of soil,on whose cliff the fair flower advances,till the ... Read more
  • EnigmasYou’ve asked me what the lobster is weaving there with his golden feet?I reply, the ocean knows this.You say, what is the ascidia waiting for in its transparent bell? What is it waiting for?I tell you it is waiting for time, like you.You ask me whom the Macrocystis alga hugs in its arms?Study, study it, ... Read more
  • Entrance Of The RiversBeloved of the rivers,beset By azure water and transparent drops,Like a tree of veins your spectre Of dark goddess biting apples: And then awakening naked To be tattoed by the rivers, And in the wet heights your head Filled the world with new dew. Water rose to your waist, You are made of wellsprings And ... Read more
  • Fable of the Mermaid and the DrunksAll those men were there inside,when she came in totally naked.They had been drinking: they began to spit.Newly come from the river, she knew nothing.She was a mermaid who had lost her way.The insults flowed down her gleaming flesh.Obscenities drowned her golden breasts.Not knowing tears, she did not weep tears.Not knowing clothes, she did not ... Read more
  • FinaleMatilde, years or days sleeping, feverish, here or there, gazing off, twisting my spine, bleeding true blood, perhaps I awaken or am lost, sleeping: hospital beds, foreign windows, white uniforms of the silent walkers, the clumsiness of feet. And then, these journeys and my sea of renewal: your head on the pillow, your hands floating ... Read more
  • Fleas interest me so muchFleas interest me so muchthat I let them bite me for hours.They are perfect, ancient, Sanskrit,machines that admit of no appeal.They do not bite to eat,they bite only to jump;they are the dancers of the celestial sphere,delicate acrobatsin the softest and most profound circus;let them gallop on my skin,divulge their emotions,amuse themselves with my blood,but ... Read more
  • From – Twenty Poems of LoveI can write the saddest lines tonight. Write for example: ‘The night is fracturedand they shiver, blue, those stars, in the distance’ The night wind turns in the sky and sings.I can write the saddest lines tonight.I loved her, sometimes she loved me too. On nights like these I held her in my arms.I kissed ... Read more
  • from The Book of QuestionsIII. Tell me, is the rose nakedor is that her only dress? Why do trees concealthe splendor of their roots? Who hears the regretsof the thieving automobile? Is there anything in the world sadder than a train standing in the rain?
  • From The Heights Of Maccho PicchuRise up to be born with me, brother. Give me your hand from the deep Zone seeded by your sorrow. You won’t return from under the rocks. You won’t return from your subterranean time. Your hardened voice won’t return. Your gouged-out eyes won’t return. Look at me from the depth of the earth, laborer, weaver, ... Read more
  • Gautama ChristThe names of God and especially those of His representative Who is called Jesus or Christ according to holy books and someone’s mouth These names have been used, worn out and left On the shores of rivers of of human lives Like the empty shells of a mollusk. However when we touch these sacred but ... Read more
  • Gentleman AloneThe young maricones and the horny muchachas,The big fat widows delirious from insomnia,The young wives thirty hours’ pregnant,And the hoarse tomcats that cross my garden at night,Like a collar of palpitating sexual oystersSurround my solitary home,Enemies of my soul,Conspirators in pajamasWho exchange deep kisses for passwords.Radiant summer brings out the loversIn melancholy regiments,Fat and thin ... Read more
  • Here I Love YouHere I love you. In the dark pines the wind disentangles itself.The moon glows like phosphorous on the vagrant waters.Days, all one kind, go chasing each other. The snow unfurls in dancing figures.A silver gull slips down from the west.Sometimes a sail. High, high stars. Oh the black cross of a ship.Alone. Sometimes I get ... Read more
  • I Crave Your Mouth, Your Voice, Your HairI crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all dayI hunt for the liquid measure of your steps. I hunger for your sleek laugh,your hands the color of a savage harvest,hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,I want to eat ... Read more
  • I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love YouI do not love you except because I love you; I go from loving to not loving you,From waiting to not waiting for youMy heart moves from cold to fire. I love you only because it’s you the one I love; I hate you deeply, and hating youBend to you, and the measure of my ... Read more
  • i Like For You To Be Stilli like for you to be stillit is as though you are absentAnd you hear me from far awayAnd my voice does not touch youit seems as though your eyes had flown awayAnd it seems that a kiss had sealed your mouthAs all things are filled with my soulYou emerge from the thingsFilled with my ... Read more
  • I like you calm, as if you were absentI like you calm, as if you were absent,and you hear me far-off, and my voice does not touch you.It seems that your eyelids have taken to flying:it seems that a kiss has sealed up your mouth.Since all these things are filled with my spirit,you come from things, filled with my spirit.You appear as my ... Read more
  • I Remember You As You WereI remember you as you were in the last autumn. You were the grey beret and the still heart.In your eyes the flames of the twilight fought on.And the leaves fell in the water of your soul. Clasping my arms like a climbing plantthe leaves garnered your voice, that was slow and at peace.Bonfire of ... Read more
  • I'm Explaining a Few ThingsYou are going to ask: and where are the lilacs?and the poppy-petalled metaphysics?and the rain repeatedly spatteringits words and drilling them fullof apertures and birds?I’ll tell you all the news. I lived in a suburb,a suburb of Madrid, with bells,and clocks, and trees. From there you could look outover Castille’s dry face:a leather ocean.My house ... Read more
  • If You Forget MeI want you to knowone thing. You know how this is: if I look at the crystal moon, at the red branch of the slow autumn at my window, if I touch near the fire the impalpable ash or the wrinkled body of the log, everything carries me to you, as if everything that exists, ... Read more
  • In My Sky At TwilightIn my sky at twilight you are like a cloudand your form and colour are the way I love them.You are mine, mine, woman with sweet lipsand in your life my infinite dreams live. The lamp of my soul dyes your feet,the sour wine is sweeter on your lips,oh reaper of my evening song,how solitary ... Read more
  • In You The EarthLittlerose,roselet,at times,tiny and naked,it seemsas though you would fitin one of my hands,as though I’ll clasp you like thisand carry you to my mouth,butsuddenlymy feet touch your feet and my mouth your lips:you have grown,your shoulders rise like two hills,your breasts wander over my breast,my arm scarcely manages to encircle the thinnew-moon line of your ... Read more
  • It’s good to feel you are close to meIt’s good to feel you are close to me in the night, love,invisible in your sleep, intently nocturnal,while I untangle my worriesas if they were twisted nets. Withdrawn, your heart sails through dream,but your body, relinquished so, breathesseeking me without seeing me perfecting my dreamlike a plant that seeds itself in the dark. Rising, you ... Read more
  • La MuertaSi de pronto no existes,si de pronto no vives,yo seguiré viviendo. No me atrevo,no me atrevo a escribirlo,si te mueres. Yo seguiré viviendo. Porque donde no tiene voz un hombreallí, mi voz. Donde los negros sean apaleados,yo no puedo estar muerto.Cuando entren en la cárcel mis hermanosentraré yo con ellos. Cuando la victoria,no mi victoria,sino ... Read more
  • La Reina (and translation)The QueenI have named you queen.There are taller than you, taller.There are purer than you, purer.There are lovelier than you, lovelier.But you are the queen. When you go through the streetsNo one recognizes you.No one sees your crystal crown, no one looksAt the carpet of red goldThat you tread as you pass,The nonexistent carpet. And ... Read more
  • Leaning Into The AfternoonsLeaning into the afternoons I cast my sad netstowards your oceanic eyes. There in the highest blaze my solitude lengthens and flames,its arms turning like a drowning man’s. I send out red signals across your absent eyesthat smell like the sea or the beach by a lighthouse. You keep only darkness, my distant female,from your ... Read more
  • Leave Me A Place UndergroundLeave me a place underground, a labyrinth,where I can go, when I wish to turn,without eyes, without touch,in the void, to dumb stone,or the finger of shadow. I know that you cannot, no one, no thingcan deliver up that place, or that path,but what can I do with my pitiful passions,if they are no use, ... Read more
  • Lone GentlemanThe gay young men and the love-sick girls, and the abandoned widows suffering in sleepless delirium, and the young pregnant wives of thirty hours, and the raucous cats that cruise my garden in the shadows, like a necklace of pulsating oysters of sex surround my lonely residence, like enemies lined up against my soul, like ... Read more
  • Lost In The ForestLost in the forest, I broke off a dark twigand lifted its whisper to my thirsty lips:maybe it was the voice of the rain crying,a cracked bell, or a torn heart. Something from far off it seemeddeep and secret to me, hidden by the earth,a shout muffled by huge autumns,by the moist half-open darkness of ... Read more
  • Lost in the forest...Lost in the forest, I broke off a dark twigand lifted its whisper to my thirsty lips:maybe it was the voice of the rain crying,a cracked bell, or a torn heart. Something from far off it seemeddeep and secret to me, hidden by the earth,a shout muffled by huge autumns,by the moist half-open darkness of ... Read more
  • LoveWhat’s wrong with you, with us, what’s happening to us? Ah our love is a harsh cord that binds us wounding us and if we want to leave our wound, to separate, it makes a new knot for us and condemns us to drain our blood and burn together. What’s wrong with you? I look ... Read more
  • Love, We're Going Home NowLove, we’re going home now,Where the vines clamber over the trellis:Even before you, the summer will arrive,On its honeysuckle feet, in your bedroom. Our nomadic kisses wandered over all the world:Armenia, dollop of disinterred honey:Ceylon, green dove: and the YangTse with its oldOld patience, dividing the day from the night. And now, dearest, we return, ... Read more
  • Lovely OneLovely one,Just as on the cool stoneOf the spring, the waterOpens a wide flash of foam,So is the smile of your face,Lovely one. Lovely one,With delicate hands and slender feetLike a silver pony,Walking, flower of the world,Thus I see you,Lovely one. Lovely one,With a nest of copper entangledOn your head, a nestThe coloUr of dark ... Read more
  • Luminous mind, bright devilLuminous mind, bright devilof absolute clusterings, of upright noon—:here we are at last, alone, without loneliness,far from the savage city’s delirium. Just as a pure line describes the dove’s curve,as the fire honors and nourishes peace,so you and I made this heavenly outcome.The mind and love live naked in this house. Furious dreams, rivers of ... Read more
  • LXXXIV From: ‘Cien sonetos de amor’One time more, my love, the net of light extinguisheswork, wheels, flames, boredoms and farewells,and we surrender the swaying wheat to night,the wheat that noon stole from earth and light.The moon alone in the midst of its clear pagesustains the pillars of Heaven’s Bay,the room acquires the slowness of gold,and your hands go here and ... Read more
  • Magellanic PenguinNeither clown nor child nor blacknor white but verticleand a questioning innocencedressed in night and snow:The mother smiles at the sailor,the fisherman at the astronaunt,but the child child does not smilewhen he looks at the bird child,and from the disorderly oceanthe immaculate passengeremerges in snowy mourning. I was without doubt the child birdthere in the ... Read more
  • Nothing But DeathThere are cemeteries that are lonely,graves full of bones that do not make a sound,the heart moving through a tunnel,in it darkness, darkness, darkness,like a shipwreck we die going into ourselves,as though we were drowning inside our hearts,as though we lived falling out of the skin into the soul. And there are corpses,feet made of ... Read more
  • Oda al TomateLa callese llenó de tomates,mediodia,verano,la luzse parteen dosmitadesde tomate,correpor las callesel jugo.En diciembrese desatael tomate,invadelas cocinas,entra por los almuerzos,se sientareposadoen los aparadores,entre los vasos,las matequilleras,los saleros azules.Tieneluz propia,majestad benigna.Debemos, por desgracia,asesinarlo:se hundeel cuchilloen su pulpa viviente,es una rojaviscera,un solfresco,profundo,inagotable,lle na las ensaladasde Chile,se casa alegrementecon la clara cebolla,y para celebrarlose dejacaeraceite,hijoesencial del olivo,sobre sus hemisferios ... Read more
  • Ode to a Large Tuna in the MarketAmong the market greens,a bulletfrom the oceandepths,a swimming projectile, I saw you,dead. All around youwere lettuces,sea foamof the earth,carrots,grapes,butof the oceantruth,of the unknown,of theunfathomableshadow, the depthsof the sea,the abyss,only you had survived,a pitch-black, varnishedwitnessto deepest night. Only you, well-aimeddark bulletfrom the abyss,mangledat one tip,but constantlyreborn,at anchor in the current,winged finswindmillingin the swiftflightof themarineshadow,a mourning arrow,dart ... Read more
  • Ode To A Naked BeautyWith chaste heart, and pureeyesI celebrate you, my beauty,restraining my bloodso that the linesurges and followsyour contour,and you bed yourself in my verse,as in woodland, or wave-spume:earth’s perfume,sea’s music. Nakedly beautiful,whether it is your feet, archingat a primal touchof sound or breeze,or your ears,tiny spiral shellsfrom the splendour of America’s oceans.Your breasts also,of equal fullness, ... Read more
  • Ode To Bird WatchingNow Let’s look for birds! The tall iron branches in the forest, The dense fertility on the ground. The world is wet. A dewdrop or raindrop shines, a diminutive star among the leaves. The morning time mother earth is cool. The air is like a river which shakes the silence. It smells of rosemary, of ... Read more
  • Ode To Broken ThingsThings get broken at home like they were pushed by an invisible, deliberate smasher. It’s not my hands or yours It wasn’t the girls with their hard fingernails or the motion of the planet. It wasn’t anything or anybody It wasn’t the wind It wasn’t the orange-colored noontime Or night over the earth It wasn’t ... Read more
  • Ode to ClothesEvery morning you wait,clothes, over a chair,to fill yourself withmy vanity, my love,my hope, my body.Barelyrisen from sleep,I relinquish the water,enter your sleeves,my legs look forthe hollows of your legs,and so embracedby your indefatigable faithfulnessI rise, to tread the grass,enter poetry,consider through the windows,the things,the men, the women,the deeds and the fightsgo on forming me,go ... Read more
  • Ode to MaizeAmerica, from a grainof maize you grewto crownwith spacious landsthe ocean foam.A grain of maize was your geography.From the graina green lance rose,was covered with gold,to grace the heightsof Peru with its yellow tassels. But, poet, lethistory rest in its shroud;praise with your lyrethe grain in its granaries:sing to the simple maize in the kitchen. ... Read more
  • Ode to My SocksMara Mori brought mea pair of sockswhich she knitted herselfwith her sheepherder’s hands,two socks as soft as rabbits.I slipped my feet into themas if they were two casesknitted with threads of twilight and goatskin,Violent socks,my feet were two fish made of wool,two long sharkssea blue, shot throughby one golden thread,two immense blackbirds,two cannons,my feet were ... Read more
  • Ode to SadnessSadness, scarabwith seven crippled feet,spiderweb egg,scramble-brained rat,bitch’s skeleton:No entry here.Don’t come in.Go away.Go backsouth with your umbrella,go backnorth with your serpent’s teeth.A poet lives here.No sadness maycross this threshold.Through these windowscomes the breath of the world,fresh red roses,flags embroidered withthe victories of the people.No.No entry.Flapyour bat’s wings,I will trample the feathersthat fall from your mantle,I ... Read more
  • Ode to SaltThis saltin the salt cellarI once saw in the salt mines.I knowyou won’tbelieve mebutit singssalt sings, the skinof the salt minessingswith a mouth smotheredby the earth.I shivered in thosesolitudeswhen I heardthe voiceofthe salt in the desert.Near Antofagastathe nitrouspamparesounds:abrokenv oice,a mournfulsong. In its cavesthe salt moans, mountainof buried light,translucent cathedral,crystal of the sea, oblivionof the waves.And ... Read more
  • Ode To The ArtichokeThe artichoke With a tender heart Dressed up like a warrior, Standing at attention, it built A small helmet Under its scales It remained Unshakeable, By its side The crazy vegetables Uncurled Their tendrills and leaf-crowns, Throbbing bulbs, In the sub-soil The carrot With its red mustaches Was sleeping, The grapevine Hung out to dry ... Read more
  • Ode to the BookWhen I close a bookI open life.I hearfaltering criesamong harbours.Copper ignotsslide down sand-pitsto Tocopilla.Night time.Among the islandsour oceanthrobs with fish,touches the feet, the thighs,the chalk ribsof my country.The whole of nightclings to its shores, by dawnit wakes up singingas if it had excited a guitar. The ocean’s surge is calling.The windcalls meand Rodriguez calls,and Jose ... Read more
  • Ode to TomatoesThe streetfilled with tomatoesmidday,summer,light ishalvedlikeatomato,its juicerunsthrough the streets.In December,unabated,the tomatoinvadesthe kitchen,it enters at lunchtime,takesits easeon countertops,among glasses,butter dishes,blue saltcellars.It shedsits own light,benign majesty.Unfortunately, we mustmurder it:the knifesinksinto living flesh,redviscera,a coolsun,profound,inexhausible,pop ulates the saladsof Chile,happily, it is wedto the clear onion,and to celebrate the unionwepouroil,essentialchild of the olive,onto its halved hemispheres,pepperaddsits fragrance,salt, its magnetism;it is the ... Read more
  • Ode To WineDay-colored wine,night-colored wine,wine with purple feetor wine with topaz blood,wine,starry childof earth,wine, smoothas a golden sword,softas lascivious velvet,wine, spiral-seashelledand full of wonder,amorous,marine;never has one goblet contained you,one song, one man,you are choral, gregarious,at the least, you must be shared.At timesyou feed on mortalmemories;your wave carries usfrom tomb to tomb,stonecutter of icy sepulchers,and we weeptransitory tears;yourgloriousspring ... Read more
  • PoesiaY fue a esa edad… Llegó la poesía a buscarme. No sé, no sé de dónde salió, de invierno o río. No sé cómo ni cuándo, no, no eran voces, no eran palabras, ni silencio, pero desde una calle me llamaba, desde las ramas de la noche, de pronto entre los otros, entre fuegos violentos ... Read more
  • Poet's ObligationTo whoever is not listening to the seathis Friday morning, to whoever is cooped upin house or office, factory or womanor street or mine or harsh prison cell;to him I come, and, without speaking or looking,I arrive and open the door of his prison,and a vibration starts up, vague and insistent,a great fragment of thunder ... Read more
  • PoetryAnd it was at that age … Poetry arrivedin search of me. I don’t know, I don’t know whereit came from, from winter or a river.I don’t know how or when,no they were not voices, they were notwords, nor silence,but from a street I was summoned,from the branches of night,abruptly from the others,among violent firesor ... Read more
  • Poor CreaturesWhat it takes on this planet, to make love to each other in peace. Everyone pries under your sheets, everyone interferes with your loving. They say terrible things about a man and a woman, who after much milling about, all sorts of compunctions, do something unique, they both lie with each other in one bed. ... Read more
  • Poor FellowsWhat it takes on this planet, to make love to each other in peace. Everyone pries under your sheets, everyone interferes with your loving. They say terrible things about a man and a woman, who after much milling about, all sorts of compunctions, do something unique, they both lie with each other in one bed. ... Read more
  • PotterYour whole body hasa fullness or a gentleness destined for me. When I move my hand upI find in each place a dovethat was seeking me, asif they had, love, made you of clayfor my own potter’s hands. Your knees, your breasts,your waistare missing parts of me like the hollowof a thirsty earthfrom which they ... Read more
  • Puedo EscribirPuedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche. Escribir, por ejemplo: ‘La noche está estrellada,y tiritan, azules, los astros, a lo lejos.’ El viento de la noche gira en el cielo y canta. Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.Yo la quise, y a veces ella también me quiso. En las noches como ésta ... Read more
  • Saddest PoemI can write the saddest poem of all tonight. Write, for instance: "The night is full of stars,and the stars, blue, shiver in the distance." The night wind whirls in the sky and sings. I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too. On nights like this, ... Read more
  • So that you will hear meSo that you will hear memy wordssometimes grow thinas the tracks of the gulls on the beaches. Necklace, drunken bellfor your hands smooth as grapes. And I watch my words from a long way off.They are more yours than mine.They climb on my old suffering like ivy. It climbs the same way on damp walls.You ... Read more
  • Some BeastsIt was the twilight of the iguana: From a rainbowing battlement,a tongue like a javelinlunging in verdure;an ant heap treading the jungle,monastic, on musical feet;the guanaco, oxygen-finein the high places swarthed with distances,cobbling his feet into gold;the llama of scrupulous eyethe widens his gaze on the dewsof a delicate world. A monkey is weavinga thread ... Read more
  • SonataNeither the heart cut by a piece of glass in a wasteland of thorns nor the atrocious waters seen in the corners of certain houses, waters like eyelids and eyes can capture your waist in my hands when my heart lifts its oaks towards your unbreakable thread of snow. Nocturnal sugar, spirit of the crowns, ... Read more
  • Soneto XVIINo te amo como si fueras rosa de sal, topacio o flecha de claveles que propagan el fuego: te amo como se aman ciertas cosas oscuras, secretamente, entre la sombra y el alma. Te amo como la planta que no florece y lleva dentro de sí, escondida, la luz de aquellas flores, y gracias a ... Read more
  • Song Of DespairThe memory of you emerges from the night around me.The river mingles its stubborn lament with the sea. Deserted like the wharves at dawn.It is the hour of departure, oh deserted one! Cold flower heads are raining over my heart.Oh pit of debris, fierce cave of the shipwrecked. In you the wars and the flights ... Read more
  • Sonnet IX: There where the waves shatterThere where the waves shatter on the restless rocksthe clear light bursts and enacts its rose,and the sea-circle shrinks to a cluster of buds,to one drop of blue salt, falling. O bright magnolia bursting in the foam,magnetic transient whose death bloomsand vanishes–being, nothingness–forever:broken salt, dazzling lurch of the sea. You & I, Love, together we ... Read more
  • Sonnet LXVI: I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love YouI do not love you except because I love you;I go from loving to not loving you,From waiting to not waiting for youMy heart moves from cold to fire. I love you only because it’s you the one I love;I hate you deeply, and hating youBend to you, and the measure of my changing love ... Read more
  • Sonnet LXXIII: Maybe you'll rememberMaybe you’ll remember that razor-faced man who slipped out from the dark like a blade and – before we realized – knew what was there: he saw the smoke and concluded fire. The pallid woman with black hair rose like a fish from the abyss, and the two of them built up a contraption, armed ... Read more
  • Sonnet LXXXIAnd now you’re mine. Rest with your dream in my dream.Love and pain and work should all sleep, now.The night turns on its invisible wheels,and you are pure beside me as a sleeping amber. No one else, Love, will sleep in my dreams. You will go,we will go together, over the waters of time.No one ... Read more
  • Sonnet LXXXI: Rest with your dream inside my dreamAlready, you are mine. Rest with your dream inside my dream.Love, grief, labour, must sleep now.Night revolves on invisible wheelsand joined to me you are pure as sleeping amber. No one else will sleep with my dream, love.You will go we will go joined by the waters of time.No other one will travel the shadows ... Read more
  • Sonnet VIIIIf your eyes were not the color of the moon,of a day full [here, interrupted by the baby waking — continued about 26hours later ]of a day full of clay, and work, and fire,if even held-in you did not move in agile grace like the air,if you were not an amber week, not the yellow ... Read more
  • Sonnet VIII: If your eyes were not the color of the moonIf your eyes were not the color of the moon,of a day full [here, interrupted by the baby waking – continued about 26hours later ]of a day full of clay, and work, and fire,if even held-in you did not move in agile grace like the air,if you were not an amber week, not the yellow ... Read more
  • Sonnet XCV:Who ever desired each other as we doWho ever desired each other as we do? Let us lookfor the ancient ashes of hearts that burned,and let our kisses touch there, one by one,till the flower, disembodied, rises again. Let us love that Desire that consumed its own fruitand went down, aspect and power, into the earth:We are its continuing light,its indestructible, fragile ... Read more
  • Sonnet XII crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all dayI hunt for the liquid measure of your steps. I hunger for your sleek laugh,your hands the color of a savage harvest,hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,I want to eat ... Read more
  • Sonnet XIII:The light that rises from your feet to your hairThe light that rises from your feet to your hair,the strength enfolding your delicate form,are not mother of pearl, not chilly silver:you are made of bread, a bread the fire adores. The grain grew high in its harvest of you,in good time the flour swelled;as the dough rose, doubling your breasts,my love was the coal ... Read more
  • Sonnet XLII: I Hunt For A Sign Of YouI hunt for a sign of you in all the others,In the rapid undulant river of women,Braids, shyly sinking eyes,Light step that slices, sailing through the foam. Suddenly I think I can make out your nails,Oblong, quick, nieces of a cherry:Then it’s your hair that passes by, and I thinkI see your image, a bonfire, ... Read more
  • Sonnet XVIII do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,in secret, between the shadow and the soul. I love you as the plant that never bloomsbut carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;thanks to ... Read more
  • Sonnet XVII: I do not love you as if you were brine-rose, topazI do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,in secret, between the shadow and the soul. I love you as the plant that never bloomsbut carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;thanks to ... Read more
  • Sonnet XXVBefore I loved you, love, nothing was my own: I wavered through the streets, amongObjects: Nothing mattered or had a name: The world was made of air, which waited. I knew rooms full of ashes, Tunnels where the moon lived, Rough warehouses that growled ‘get lost’, Questions that insisted in the sand. Everything was empty, ... Read more
  • Sonnet XXVII: Naked You Are As Simple as one of your HandsNaked, you are simple as one of your hands, Smooth, earthy, small, transparent, round: You have moonlines, applepathways: Naked, you are slender as a naked grain of wheat. Naked, you are blue as the night in Cuba; You have vines and stars in your hair; Naked, you are spacious and yellow As summer in a ... Read more
  • Sonnet XXXIVYou are the daughter of the sea, oregano’s first cousin.Swimmer, your body is pure as the water;cook, your blood is quick as the soil.Everything you do is full of flowers, rich with the earth. Your eyes go out toward the water, and the waves rise;your hands go out to the earth and the seeds swell;you ... Read more
  • Sonnet XXXIV (You are the daughter of the sea)You are the daughter of the sea, oregano’s first cousin.Swimmer, your body is pure as the water;cook, your blood is quick as the soil.Everything you do is full of flowers, rich with the earth. Your eyes go out toward the water, and the waves rise;your hands go out to the earth and the seeds swell;you ... Read more
  • Tell Me, Is The Rose Naked?Tell me, is the rose naked Or is that her only dress? Why do trees concealThe splendor of their roots? Who hears the regretsOf the thieving automobile? Is there anything in the world sadderThan a train standing in the rain?
  • The Dead WomanIf suddenly you do not exist,if suddenly you no longer live,I shall live on. I do not dare,I do not dare to write it,if you die. I shall live on. For where a man has no voice,there, my voice. Where blacks are beaten,I cannot be dead.When my brothers go to prisonI shall go with them. ... Read more
  • The DictatorsAn odor has remained among the sugarcane:a mixture of blood and body, a penetratingpetal that brings nausea.Between the coconut palms the graves are fullof ruined bones, of speechless death-rattles.The delicate dictator is talkingwith top hats, gold braid, and collars.The tiny palace gleams like a watchand the rapid laughs with gloves oncross the corridors at timesand ... Read more
  • The Eighth of SeptemberThis day, Today, was a brimming glass.This day, Today, was an immense wave.This day was all the Earth.This day, the storm-driven oceanlifted us up in a kissso exalted we trembledat the lightning flashand bound as one, fell,and drowned, without being unbound.This day our bodies grewstretched out to Earth’s limits,orbited there, melded thereto one globe of ... Read more
  • The FearThey all ask me to jumpto invigorate and to play soccer, to run, to swim and to fly. Very well. They all advise me rest, they all send me to the doctor, looking at me a certain way. What happens? They all advise me to travel, to come and to leave, to stay, to die ... Read more
  • The Fickle OneMy eyes went away from meFollowing a dark girl who went by. She was made of black motherofpearlMade of darkpurple grapes,And she lashed my bloodWith her tail of fire. After them all I go. A pale blonde went byLike a golden plantSwaying her gifts.And my mouth wentLike a waveDischarging on her breastLightningbolts of blood. After ... Read more
  • The House of OdesWritingtheseodesin thisyear nineteenhundred andfifty-five,readying and tuningmy demanding, murmuring lyre,I know who I amand where my song is going.I understandthat the shopper for mythsand mysteriesmay entermy woodand adobehouse of odes,may despisethe utensils,the portraitsof father and mother and countryon the walls,the simplicityof the breadand the saltcellar. Butthat’s how it is in my house of odes.I deposed the ... Read more
  • The InsectFrom your hips down to your feetI want to make a long journey. I am smaller than an insect. Over these hills I pass,hills the colour of oats,crossed with faint tracksthat only I know,scorched centimetres,pale perspectives. Now here is a mountain.I shall never leave this.What a giant growth of moss!And a crater, a roseof moist ... Read more
  • The Light Wraps YouThe light wraps you in its mortal flame. Abstracted pale mourner, standing that way against the old propellers of the twighlight that revolves around you. Speechless, my friend, alone in the loneliness of this hour of the dead and filled with the lives of fire, pure heir of the ruined day. A bough of fruit ... Read more
  • The MenI’m Ramón González Barbagelata from anywhere, from Cucuy, from Paraná, from Rio Turbio, from Oruro, from Maracaibo, from Parral, from Ovalle, from Loconmilla, I’m the poor devil from the poor Third World, I’m the third-class passenger installed, good God! in the lavish whiteness of snow-covered mountains, concealed among orchids of subtle idiosyncrasy. I’ve arrived at ... Read more
  • The Night in Isla NegraAncient night and the unruly saltbeat at the walls of my house.The shadow is all one, the skythrobs now along with the ocean,and sky and shadow eruptin the crash of their vast conflict.All night long they struggle;nobody knows the nameof the harsh light that keeps slowly openinglike a languid fruit.So on the coast comes to ... Read more
  • The Old Women Of The OceanTo the solemn sea the old women come With their shawls knotted around their necks With their fragile feet cracking. They sit down alone on the shore Without moving their eyes or their hands Without changing the clouds or the silence. The obscene sea breaks and claws Rushes downhill trumpeting Shakes its bull’s beard. The ... Read more
  • The PeopleI recall that man and not two centurieshave passed since I saw him,he went neither by horse nor by carriage:purely on foothe outstrippeddistances,and carried no sword or armour,only nets on his shoulder,axe or hammer or spade,never fighting the rest of his species:his exploits were with water and earth,with wheat so that it turned into bread,with ... Read more
  • The Portrait In The RockOh yes I knew him, I spent years with him,with his golden and stony substance,he was a man who was tired – in Paraguay he left his father and mother,his sons, his nephews,his latest in-laws,his house, his chickens,and some half-opened books.They called him to the door.When he opened it, the police took him,and they beat ... Read more
  • The QueenI have named you queen.There are taller than you, taller.There are purer than you, purer.There are lovelier than you, lovelier.But you are the queen. When you go through the streetsNo one recognizes you.No one sees your crystal crown, no one looksAt the carpet of red goldThat you tread as you pass,The nonexistent carpet. And when ... Read more
  • The QuestionLove, a questionhas destroyed you. I have come back to youfrom thorny uncertainty. I want you straight asthe sword or the road. But you insiston keeping a nookof shadow that I do not want. My love,understand me,I love all of you,from eyes to feet, to toenails,inside,all the brightness, which you kept. It is I, my ... Read more
  • The Saddest PoemI can write the saddest poem of all tonight. Write, for instance: "The night is full of stars,and the stars, blue, shiver in the distance." The night wind whirls in the sky and sings. I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too. On nights like this, ... Read more
  • The Song of DespairYou swallowed everything, like distance. Like the sea, like time. In you everything sank! It was the happy hour of assault and the kiss. The hour of the spell that blazed like a lighthouse. Pilot’s dread, fury of a blind diver, turbulent drunkenness of love, in you everything sank!
  • The Tree Is Here, Still, In Pure StoneThe tree is here, still, in pure stone,in deep evidence, in solid beauty,layered, through a hundred million years.Agate, cornelian, gemstonetransmuted the timber and sapuntil damp corruptionsfissured the giant’s trunkfusing a parallel being:the living leavesunmade themselvesand when the pillar was overthrownfire in the forest, blaze of the dust-cloud,celestial ashes mantled it round,until time, and the lava, ... Read more
  • The United Fruit Co.When the trumpet sounded, it was all prepared on the earth, the Jehovah parcelled out the earth to Coca Cola, Inc., Anaconda, Ford Motors, and other entities: The Fruit Company, Inc. reserved for itself the most succulent, the central coast of my own land, the delicate waist of America. It rechristened its territories as the ... Read more
  • The Weary OneThe weary one, orphanof the masses, the self,the crushed one, the one made of concrete,the one without a country in crowded restaurants,he who wanted to go far away, always farther away,didn’t know what to do there, whether he wantedor didn’t want to leave or remain on the island,the hesitant one, the hybrid, entangled in himself,had ... Read more
  • The White Mans BurdenLost in the forest, I broke off a dark twigand lifted its whisper to my thirsty lips:maybe it was the voice of the rain crying,a cracked bell, or a torn heart. Something from far off it seemeddeep and secret to me, hidden by the earth,a shout muffled by huge autumns,by the moist half-open darkness of ... Read more
  • The Wide OceanOcean, if you were to give, a measure, a ferment, a fruitof your gifts and destructions, into my hand,I would choose your far-off repose, your contour of steel,your vigilant spaces of air and darkness,and the power of your white tongue,that shatters and overthrows columns,breaking them down to your proper purity. Not the final breaker, heavy ... Read more
  • Tie Your Heart At Night To Mine, Love,Tie your heart at night to mine, love,and both will defeat the darknesslike twin drums beating in the forestagainst the heavy wall of wet leaves. Night crossing: black coal of dreamthat cuts the thread of earthly orbswith the punctuality of a headlong trainthat pulls cold stone and shadow endlessly. Love, because of it, tie me ... Read more
  • Tonight I Can WriteTonight I can write the saddest lines. Write, for example, ‘The night is starryand the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.’ The night wind revolves in the sky and sings. Tonight I can write the saddest lines.I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too. Through nights like this one I held her ... Read more
  • Tonight I can write the saddest linesTonight I can write the saddest lines. Write, for example,’The night is shatteredand the blue stars shiver in the distance.’ The night wind revolves in the sky and sings. Tonight I can write the saddest lines.I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too. Through nights like this one I held her in my armsI ... Read more
  • Tower Of LightO tower of light, sad beautythat magnified necklaces and statues in the sea,calcareous eye, insignia of the vast waters, cryof the mourning petrel, tooth of the sea, wifeof the Oceanian wind, O separate rosefrom the long stem of the trampled bushthat the depths, converted into archipelago,O natural star, green diadem,alone in your lonesome dynasty,still unattainable, ... Read more
  • TrianglesThree triangles of birds crossed Over the enormous ocean which extended In winter like a green beast. Everything just lay there, the silence, The unfolding gray, the heavy light Of space, some land now and then. Over everything there was passing A flight And another flight Of dark birds, winter bodies Trembling triangles Whose wings, ... Read more
  • Walking AroundIt so happens I am sick of being a man.And it happens that I walk into tailorshops and movie housesdried up, waterproof, like a swan made of feltsteering my way in a water of wombs and ashes. The smell of barbershops makes me break into hoarse sobs.The only thing I want is to lie still ... Read more
  • Walking Around (Original Spanish)(Original Spanish; can someone provide the title?) Sucede que me canso de ser hombre.Sucede que entro en las sastrerías y en los cinesmarchito, impenetrable, como un cisne de fieltroNavegando en un agua de origen y ceniza. El olor de las peluquerías me hace llorar a gritos.Sólo quiero un descanso de piedras o de lana,sólo quiero ... Read more
  • WaltzI touch hatred like a covered breast;I without stopping go from garment to garment,sleeping at a distance. I am not, I’m of no use, I do not knowanyone; I have no weapons of ocean or wood,I do not live in this house. My mouth is full of night and water.The abiding moon determineswhat I do ... Read more
  • WaterEverything on the earth bristled, the bramblepricked and the green threadnibbled away, the petal fell, fallinguntil the only flower was the falling itself.Water is another matter,has no direction but its own bright grace,runs through all imaginable colors,takes limpid lessonsfrom stone,and in those functionings plays outthe unrealized ambitions of the foam.
  • We Are ManyOf the many men whom I am, whom we are,I cannot settle on a single one.They are lost to me under the cover of clothingThey have departed for another city. When everything seems to be setto show me off as a man of intelligence,the fool I keep concealed on my persontakes over my talk and ... Read more
  • What Spain Was LikeSpain was a taut, dry drum-head Daily beating a dull thud Flatlands and eagle’s nest Silence lashed by the storm. How much, to the point of weeping, in my soul I love your hard soil, your poor bread, Your poor people, how much in the deep place Of my being there is still the lost ... Read more
  • XVII (I do not love you...)I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,in secret, between the shadow and the soul. I love you as the plant that never bloomsbut carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;thanks to ... Read more
  • Your FeetWhen I cannot look at your face I look at your feet. Your feet of arched bone, your hard little feet. I know that they support you, and that your sweet weight rises upon them. Your waist and your breasts, the doubled purple of your nipples, the sockets of your eyes that have just flown ... Read more
  • Your HandsWhen your hands leaptowards mine, love,what do they bring me in flight?Why did they stopat my lips, so suddenly,why do I know them,as if once before,I have touched them,as if, before being,they travelledmy forehead, my waist?Their smoothness camewinging through time,over the sea and the smoke,over the Spring,and when you laidyour hands on my chestI knew ... Read more
  • Your LaughterTake bread away from me, if you wish,take air away, butdo not take from me your laughter. Do not take away the rose,the lance flower that you pluck,the water that suddenlybursts forth in joy,the sudden waveof silver born in you. My struggle is harsh and I come backwith eyes tiredat times from having seenthe unchanging ... Read more

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