Monday, December 30, 2013

ODE ~







Pablo Neruda






Ode to the First Day of the Year
Oda al Primer dia del ano



We identify it
as if
it were
a wooden horse
different from
all horses.
We adorn
its forehead
with a ribbon,
we hang
on its neck colorful rattles,
and at midnight
we get ready to receive it
as if it were
an explorer descending from a star.

The way bread resembles
yesterday's bread,
a ring all rings:
the days
blink
clearly, jingling, fleetingly,
and lie down in the dark night.

I see the last
day
of this
year
on a train, toward the rains
of a distant purple archipelago,
and the man
on the machine,
complicated like a clock from heaven,
lowering his eyes
to the infinite
ruler of the rails,
to the shining handles,
to the nimble bonds of fire.

Of conductor of trains
accelerating
toward the black
stations of the night,
this end
of the year,
without wife or children,
is it not the same for the one gone, the one coming?
From the roads
and workshops,
the first day, the first dawn
of the starting year,
has the same rusty
color as the iron train:
and people along the way
greet it,
cows, villages,
the vapor of the first light of day,
without knowing
it is
the year's door,
a day
heralded
by bells,
adorned with plumes and carnations.

The earth
does not
know it:
it will receive
that golden
day, gray, heavenly,
it will extend it over hills,
it will wet it with
arrows
of translucent
rain,
and then
it will curl it
in a tube,
will store it in the shadows.
It is thus, but
a small
door of hope,
new year's day,
although you are
like the bread
of all breads,
we will live you in a different way,
we will eat you, flower you,
wait for you.
We will place you
like a cake
in our lives,
we will light you
like candelabra,
we will drink you
as if
you were a topaz.
New
Year's
Day,
electric day, fresh,
all the leaves
emerge green
from
the trunk of time.

Crown us
with
water,
with open
jasmine,
with all the aromas
deployed,
yes,
even though
you're
only
a day,
a poor
human day,
your halo
beats
over so many
tired
hearts,
and you are,
oh new
day,
oh forthcoming cloud,
bread unseen before,
permanent
tower!


P A B L O   N E R U D A
translated by Ilan Stavans



____________________

All the Odes
Pablo Neruda
edited by Ilan Stavans
Farrar 2013






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