Poetry by Pablo Neruda

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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,

deciphering

that fire

and I wrote the first faint line,

faint, without substance, pure

nonsense,

pure wisdom

of someone who knows nothing,

and suddenly I saw

the heavens

unfastened

and open,

planets,

palpitating planations,

shadow perforated,

riddled

with arrows, fire and flowers,

the winding night, the universe.

And I, infinitesimal being,

drunk with the great starry

void,

likeness, image of

mystery,

I felt myself a pure part

of the abyss,

I wheeled with the stars,

my heart broke free on the open sky.

Pablo Neruda

English version by Anthony Kerrigan

  • Can you remember a favorite poem from childhood? What did you love about it?

  • When did poetry arrive for you? What is your relationship to poetry? Do you write it, read it? Where does it live for you?

  • Write the first faint line... what will you say? What will it open for you?