Neruda: Sonata and Destructions

SONATA Y DESTRUCCIONES     Residencia in la Tierra I

DESPUÉS de mucho, después de vagas leguas,
confuso de dominios, incierto de territorios,
acompañado de pobres esperanzas
y compañías infieles y desconfiados sueños,
amo lo tenaz que aún sobrevive en mis ojos,
oigo en mi corazón mis pasos de jinete,
muerdo el fuego dormido y la sal arruinada,
y de noche, de atmósfera oscura y luto prófugo,
aquel que vela a la orilla de los campamentos,
el viajero armado de estériles resistencias,
detenido entre sombras que crecen y alas que tiemblan,
me siento ser, y mi brazo de piedra me defiende.

Hay entre ciencias de llanto un altar confuso,
y en mi sesión de atardeceres sin perfume,
en mis abandonados dormitorios donde habita la luna,
y arañas de mi propiedad, y destrucciones que me son queridas,
adoro mi propio ser perdido, mi substancia imperfecta,
mi golpe de plata y mi pérdida eterna.
Ardió la uva húmeda, y su agua funeral
aún vacila, aún reside,
y el patrimonio estéril, y el domicilio traidor.

Quién hizo ceremonia de cenizas?
Quién amó lo perdido, quién protegió lo último?
El hueso del padre, la madera del buque muerto,
y su propio final, su misma huida,
su fuerza triste, su dios miserable?

Acecho, pues, lo inanimado y lo doliente,
y el testimonio extraño que sostengo,
con eficiencia cruel y escrito en cenizas,
es la forma de olvido que prefiero,
el nombre que doy a la tierra, el valor de mis sueños,
la cantidad interminable que divido
con mis ojos de invierno, durante cada día de este mundo.

Sonata and Destructions

After so many things, after so many hazy miles,

not sure which kingdom it is, not knowing the terrain,

travelling with pitiful hopes,

and lying companions, and suspicious dreams,

I love the firmness that still survivives in my eyes,

I hear my heart beating as if I were riding a horse,

I bite the sleeping fire and the ruined salt,

and at night, when darkness is thick, and mourning furtive,

I imagine I am the one keeping watch on the far shore

of the encampments, the traveler armed with his sterile defenses,

caught between growing shadows

and shivering wings, and my arm made of stone protects me.

There’s a confused altar among the sciences of tears,

and in my twilight meditations with no perfume,

and in my deserted sleeping rooms where the moon lives,

and the spiders that belong to me, and the destructions I am fond of,

I love my own lost self, my faulty stuff,

my silver wound, and my eternal loss,

The damp grapes burned, and their funereal water

Is still flickering, is still with us,

And the sterile inheritance, and the treacherous home.

Who performed a ceremony of ashes?

Who loved the lost thing, who sheltered the last thing of all?

The father’s bone, the dead ship’s timber,

and his own end, his flight,

his melancholy power, his god that had bad luck?

I lie in wait, then, for what is not alive and what is suffering,

and the extraordinary testimony I bring forward,

with brutal efficiency and written down in the ashes,

is the form of oblivion that I prefer,

the name I give to the earth, the value of my dreams,

the endless abundance which I distribute

with my wintery eyes, every day this world goes on.

[tr. Robert Bly]

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