Pablo Neruda (July 12, 1904 – September 23, 1973)
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
my eyes were blind.
Something knocked in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
and I wrote the first, faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
of someone who knows nothing;
and suddenly I saw
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.
Listen to Robert Beltran read “Poetry” by Pablo Neruda here.