Friday, October 7, 2011

Love Sonnet LXVII – Pablo Neruda

 LXVII – Love Sonnets of Pablo Neruda
(first in spanish)
La gran illuvia del sur cae sobre Isla Negra
como una sola gota transparente y pesada,
el mar abre sus hojas frias y la recibe,
la tierra aprende el humedo destino de una cupa.

Alma mia, dame en tus besos el agua
salobre de estos meses, la miel del territorio,
la fragancia mojada por mils labios del cielo,
la paciencia sagrada del mar en el invierno.

Algo nos illama, todas las puertas se abren solas,
relata el agua un largo rumor a las ventanas,
crece el cielo hacia abajo tocando las raices,

y asi teje y desteje su red celeste el dia
con tiempo, sal, susurros, crecimientos, caminos,
una mujer, un hombre, y el invierno en la tierra.

Pablo Neruda (1959)

LXVII – Love Sonnets of Pablo Neruda
an english translation

The great rain from the South falls on 1Isla Negra
like a single drop, lucid and heavy,
the sea opens its cool leaves and receives it,
2the earth learns as a cup to fulfill its wet destiny.

Give me your kisses, water to my soul,
salty from these months, the honey of the fields,
fragrance dampened by the sky’s thousand lips,
the sacred patience of the sea in winter.

Something calls to us, all the doors turn
open by themselves, the rain repeats its rumour to the windows,
the sky grows downward till it touches the roots:

so the day weaves and unweaves  its heavenly net,
with time, salt, whispers, growth, 3 pathways,
a woman, a man, and winter on the earth.

Notes ...
 1Isla Negra … Black Island … a rocky outcrop near Neruda’s third and favorite home in Chile also of the same name
2 I have based this translation on that by Stephen Tapscott except for the fourth and fifth lines … Stephen Tapscott translates these lines as …
the earth learns how a wineglass fulfills
its wet destiny. In your kisses, my soul, give me the water,
 ... and he breaks the fourth line into the start of the second stanza
3 ST translates this as roads … I prefer pathways
(Reference: Love Sonnets by Pablo Neruda - Translated by Stephen Tapscott ISBN 0 292 76029 9.)


You don't have to know anything about the life of Pablo Neruda, or what it is like to experience rain in Chile - one of the wettest and driest of places - but context of course always helps give deeper meaning to any reading. However, what is more important is the translation - assuming of course a translation is needed. If spanish is your native tongue then you will understand this poem to the full in that language - if not you will have to rely on how this work has been represented by the translator. I have chosen the words above that I like after reading a couple of translations.

Love and the sea - inseparable natural constants  ... and the wait knowing that the rain will come ... that inherent sense ... as certain as life and death.

From Wikipedia ... On Neruda's house Isla Negra ... It is about 85 km to the south of Valparaíso and 110 km to the west of Santiago. It was his favorite house and where he and his third wife, Matilde Urrutia spent the majority of their time in Chile. Neruda, a lover of the sea and all things maritime, built the home to resemble a ship with low ceilings, creaking wood floors, and narrow passageways. A passionate collector, every room has a different collection of bottles, ship figureheads, maps, ships in bottles, and an impressive array of shells, which are located in their own "Under the Sea" room.

A national treaure ... it is on my list of poetry places to visit.

No comments:

Post a Comment