Friday, January 01, 2010

A New Wineglass

Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Pablo Neruda

Happy year to you, this year, to all
mankind and lands, Beloved Araucania.
Between you and my existence a new night
separates us, and forests and rivers and roads.
But my heart gallops toward you
like a dark horse, my little land:
I enter deserts of pure geography,
pass green valleys where the grape accumulates
its green alcohols, the sea of its clusters.
I enter your communities of enclosed gardens,
white as camellias, the pungent smell
of your sawmills, and like a log,
I penetrate the water of rivers that tremble,
quivering and singing with bursting lips.

I remember, on the roads, perhaps at this time,
or else in autumn, they set golden
ears of corn to dry on roofs,
and how many times I was like an enraptured child
seeing gold on the roofs of the poor.

I embrace you, now I must
return to my hideaway. I embrace you
without knowing you: tell me who you are, do you recognize
my voice in the chorus of all that's being born?
Among all the things that surround you, do you hear
my voice, don't you feel yourself surrounded by my accent,
emanating from the earth like natural water?

It's me embracing the entire sweet surface,
my homeland's flowery waist, and I call you
so that we can talk when happiness expires
and to hand you this hour like a closed flower.
Happy New Year to the country in darkness.
Let's walk together, the world is crowned with wheat,
the lofty sky races along, bowling and dashing
its pure towering stones against the night: the new
wineglass has just been filled with a minute
bound to join the river of time that bears us.
This time, this wineglass, this land are yours:
conquer them and hark the dawning of the day.

(Translated from the Spanish by Jack Schmitt)