Nicanor Parra

(September 5, 1914 / Chillán)

The Last Toast - Poem by Nicanor Parra

Whether we like it or not,
We have only three choices:
Yesterday, today and tomorrow.

And not even three
Because as the philosopher says
Yesterday is yesterday
It belongs to us only in memory:
From the rose already plucked
No more petals can be drawn.

The cards to play
Are only two:
The present and the future.

And there aren't even two
Because it's a known fact
The present doesn't exist
Except as it edges past
And is consumed...,
like youth.

In the end
We are only left with tomorrow.
I raise my glass
To the day that never arrives.

But that is all
we have at our disposal.

Comments about The Last Toast by Nicanor Parra

  • (7/30/2018 9:05:00 AM)

    I like the way he starts with three and reduces it to nothing. It is like some of the Bible Proverbs which start small and add more as the author thinks on it. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (2/4/2018 7:20:00 AM)

    So we are nothing (Report) Reply

  • (11/15/2017 9:51:00 PM)

    It was nformative and amusing. More of this. (Report) Reply

  • Fabrizio Frosini (5/2/2016 11:57:00 AM)

    Spanish text:


    Lo queramos o no
    Sólo tenemos tres alternativas:
    El ayer, el presente y el mañana.

    Y ni siquiera tres
    Porque como dice el filósofo
    El ayer es ayer
    Nos pertenece sólo en el recuerdo:
    A la rosa que ya se deshojó
    No se le puede sacar otro pétalo.

    Las cartas por jugar
    Son solamente dos:
    El presente y el día de mañana.

    Y ni siquiera dos
    Porque es un hecho bien establecido
    Que el presente no existe
    Sino en la medida en que se hace pasado
    Y ya pasó...,
    como la juventud.

    En resumidas cuentas
    Sólo nos va quedando el mañana:
    Yo levanto mi copa
    Por ese día que no llega nunca
    Pero que es lo único
    De lo que realmente disponemos.
    (Report) Reply

  • Savita Tyagi (1/8/2015 9:12:00 AM)

    Raise my glass to the day that never arrives. How beautiful! Loved the play of words! (Report) Reply

  • Jinal Oswal (12/8/2011 4:40:00 AM)

    Amazing flow of words, wonderfully explained life.. From the rose already plucked
    No more petals can be drawn. So true, why cry over the spilt milk? ? Live life to the fullest... I liked it :)
    (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: future, memory, today, rose

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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