Poets on Poeting: Pablo Neruda

To kick off the poetry party, I'd thought we'd start with some favorite words penned by [writer rockstar &] Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda. As a reader and attempter of poetic lines, this has always moved me immensely. Enjoy.


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, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.

I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
that fire
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
and open,
palpitating plantations,
shadow perforated,
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.

And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
I felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke free on the open sky.


  1. Oh, my soul.

    I think I am going to LOVE this new feature, Jordan.

  2. I so love Pablo Neruda- I agree, I think this feature will be fantastic. His poems are so lovely and visceral- I like reading them in the original language, too, not that I understand it, but I love the sound of them.

  3. As an aspiring poet, I really like this poem as well. And this translation is very good. If you really like Neruda, check out Red Poppy at www.redpoppy.net. It's a non-profit set up to create a documentary biographical film about Neruda and to translate his works into English.