[from Pablo Neruda's The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems (Bilingual Edition), ed. Mark Eisner, tr. Stephen Kessler, City Lights, 2004]
It Means Shadows
What hope to consider, what pure foreboding,
what definitive kiss to bury in the heart,
to submit to the origins of homelessness and intelligence,
smooth and sure over the eternally troubled waters?
What vital, speedy wings of a new dream angel
to install on my sleeping shoulders for perpetual security,
in such a way that the path through the stars of death
be a violent flight begun many days and months and centuries ago?
Suppose the natural weakness of suspicious, anxious creatures
all of a sudden seeks permanence in time and limits on earth,
suppose the accumulated ages and fatigues implacably
spread like the lunar wave of a just-created ocean
over lands and shorelines tormentedly deserted.
Oh, let what I am keep on existing and ceasing to exist,
and let my obedience align itself with such iron conditions
that the quaking of deaths and of births doesn't shake
the deep place I want to reserve for myself eternally.
Let me, then, be what I am, wherever and in whatever weather,
rooted and certain and ardent witness,
carefully, unstoppably, destroying and saving himself,
openly engaged in his original obligation.