A Song Of Despair Poem by Pablo Neruda

A Song Of Despair

Rating: 3.6


The memory of you emerges from the night around me.
The river mingles its stubborn lament with the sea.

Deserted like the wharves at dawn.
It is the hour of departure, oh deserted one!

Cold flower heads are raining over my heart.
Oh pit of debris, fierce cave of the shipwrecked.

In you the wars and the flights accumulated.
From you the wings of the song birds rose.

You swallowed everything, like distance.
Like the sea, like time. In you everything sank!

It was the happy hour of assault and the kiss.
The hour of the spell that blazed like a lighthouse.

Pilot's dread, fury of blind driver,
turbulent drunkenness of love, in you everything sank!

In the childhood of mist my soul, winged and wounded.
Lost discoverer, in you everything sank!

You girdled sorrow, you clung to desire,
sadness stunned you, in you everything sank!

I made the wall of shadow draw back,
beyond desire and act, I walked on.

Oh flesh, my own flesh, woman whom I loved and lost,
I summon you in the moist hour, I raise my song to you.

Like a jar you housed infinite tenderness.
and the infinite oblivion shattered you like a jar.

There was the black solitude of the islands,
and there, woman of love, your arms took me in.

There was thirst and hunger, and you were the fruit.
There were grief and ruins, and you were the miracle.

Ah woman, I do not know how you could contain me
in the earth of your soul, in the cross of your arms!

How terrible and brief my desire was to you!
How difficult and drunken, how tensed and avid.

Cemetery of kisses, there is still fire in your tombs,
still the fruited boughs burn, pecked at by birds.

Oh the bitten mouth, oh the kissed limbs,
oh the hungering teeth, oh the entwined bodies.

Oh the mad coupling of hope and force
in which we merged and despaired.

And the tenderness, light as water and as flour.
And the word scarcely begun on the lips.

This was my destiny and in it was my voyage of my longing,
and in it my longing fell, in you everything sank!

Oh pit of debris, everything fell into you,
what sorrow did you not express, in what sorrow are you not drowned!

From billow to billow you still called and sang.
Standing like a sailor in the prow of a vessel.

You still flowered in songs, you still brike the currents.
Oh pit of debris, open and bitter well.

Pale blind diver, luckless slinger,
lost discoverer, in you everything sank!

It is the hour of departure, the hard cold hour
which the night fastens to all the timetables.

The rustling belt of the sea girdles the shore.
Cold stars heave up, black birds migrate.

Deserted like the wharves at dawn.
Only tremulous shadow twists in my hands.

Oh farther than everything. Oh farther than everything.

It is the hour of departure. Oh abandoned one!

A Song Of Despair
COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Kay Staley 26 August 2014

How nice. Its utterly sad that Pablo Neruda never learned to rhyme. Poems like his could have been memorized and truly remembered if he had any rhyme scheme at all. His writings are fun to read, but at soon as they are finished, all but the idea of them slips out of your head...with none of his beautiful left to remain. The drastical language and ironicness of the writing style is what keeps this poem in print.

12 41 Reply
Sylva Portoian 17 June 2012

I don't believe poems can be translated... As...I do repeat Every language has a soul... Noone can enter every soul...!

24 7 Reply
Jean Dament 16 September 2009

This is a beautiful piece expressing great loss well, by a very gifted poet.

14 10 Reply
Amanda Laurent 27 October 2012

My favorite line - Cemetery of kisses, there is still fire in your tombs Such power in the imagery he employs. He holds nothing back with regards to the deepest emotions.

15 7 Reply
Alex Webb 07 January 2009

This is a good'n. lol Marco, I'm glad you caught that.

10 10 Reply
Okim Otu 02 July 2022

This is a such an emotional poem.

0 0 Reply
Chinedu Dike 02 July 2022

Powerfully and movingly penned from the heart. Really a poignant piece of poetry

0 0 Reply
Kessa 06 November 2019

A Waterfall of tears scapes through the windows of my soul. A heartwrenching poem but a must keep

1 0 Reply
pablo 26 February 2019

si sabe como escribir muy buenas canciones o que dicien _ he knows how to write the best poems and song don't he

1 0 Reply
Unnikrishnan E S 08 October 2018

If a translation is this sagacious and tormenting, what what would the original Spanish poem would do, If only I could read Spanish!

2 1 Reply
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