Wednesday, May 3, 2017

There’s No Forgetting (Sonata)

There’s No Forgetting (Sonata)

If you ask me where I’ve been,
I’d have to say, “It happens”.
I’d have to speak of the soil clouding the stones,
of the enduring river that’s destroyed:
I know only the things birds lose,
the sea abandons, or my sister's weeping.
Why so many regions, why one day
close on another day, why black night
collecting in the mouth? Why the dead?

If you ask where I come from I’d have to speak with broken things,
with implements grown too bitter,
with large beasts most of the time gone rotten
and with my stricken heart.

The ones who’ve crossed over aren’t remembered,
nor is the sallow dove that sleeps in forgetting,
only faces with tears,
fingers on the throat,
and what collapses from the leaves:
the darkness of a transpired day,
of a day fed on our sorrowful blood.

Here there are violets, swallows,
as many as please us and appear
in the sweet cards of the long line
where time and sweetness go walking.
But let’s not penetrate beyond those teeth,
let's not bite the husks the silence collects.
Because I don’t know how to answer:
there are so many dead,
and so many breakwaters the red sun split,
and so many heads banging against boats,
and so many hands that have locked away kisses,
and so much I want to forget.

Pablo Neruda, “No hay olvido (Sonata)”
Translation by Jack Hayes
© 2017

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
Grafiti pintado en la fachada del restaurante Capri, calle Cochrane 664, Valparaíso" 27 November 2015, by Rodrigo Fernández [link provided with his name is empty], 

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