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“The Fishes of the Dawn”

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973), Chilean Poet

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973), Chilean Poet

For many years, it was thought that Pablo Neruda was poisoned by order of General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte because of his association with Salvador Allende. Inasmuch as he died only twelve days after Allende, foul play was assumed. Until recently that is. when Neruda’s body was exhumed by a team of forensic scientists, who found no evidence of poison.

I thought I would celebrate this finding by giving you Margaret Sayers Peden’s translation of Neruda’s “Ode to Age”:

Ode To Age – Poem by Pablo Neruda

I don’t believe in age.
All old people
carry
in their eyes,
a child,
and children,
at times
observe us with the
eyes of wise ancients.
Shall we measure
life
in meters or kilometers
or months?
How far since you were born?
How long
must you wander
until
like all men
instead of walking on its surface
we rest below the earth?
To the man, to the woman
who utilized their
energies, goodness, strength,
anger, love, tenderness,
to those who truly
alive
flowered,
and in their sensuality matured,
let us not apply
the measure
of a time
that may be
something else, a mineral
mantle, a solar
bird, a flower,
something, maybe,
but not a measure.
Time, metal
or bird, long
petiolate flower,
stretch
through
man’s life,
shower him
with blossoms
and with
bright
water
or with hidden sun.
I proclaim you
road,
not shroud,
a pristine
ladder
with treads
of air,
a suit lovingly
renewed
through springtimes
around the world.
Now,
time, I roll you up,
I deposit you in my
bait box
and I am off to fish
with your long line
the fishes of the dawn!

It is my hope to read more of Neruda’s poetry before I visit his houses near Valparaiso, Chile.