Pablo Neruda


And it was at that age . . . poetry arrived
in search of me. I don't know, I don't know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don't know how or when,
no, they were not voices, they were not
words, not silence,
but from a street it called me,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among raging fires
or returning alone,
there it was, without a face,
and it touched me.

I didn't know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names,
my eyes were blind.
Something knocked in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
that fire,
and I wrote the first, faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing;
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
and open,
palpitating plantations,
the darkness perforated,
with arrows, fire, and flowers,
the overpowering night, the universe.

And I, tiny being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss.
I wheeled with the stars.
My heart broke loose with the wind.

. . .

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) Chilean poet, diplomat, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971: for a poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent's destiny and dreams. Two equally powerful childhood influences shaped Neruda's personality. From his compassionate stepmother he learned sensitivity, and from his dogmatic father, who vehemently opposed his son's interest in poetry, he learned militant determination. He also wrote love poems, 'Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair' (1924). Neruda is the most widely read of the Spanish American poets.

|| Museums of the Mind ||