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A Song Of Despair - Poem by Pablo Neruda

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!

Comments about A Song Of Despair by Pablo Neruda

  • Rookie Leela chatterjee (7/11/2018 4:51:00 AM)

    A song of despair. He feels abandoned at the time of departure. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Rookie Frank_Arado (5/3/2018 2:12:00 AM)

    You still flowered in songs, you still brike the currents
    Its broke, you still broke the currents (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 161,149 Points Fabrizio Frosini (11/25/2015 6:17:00 AM)

    I fell in love with this poem the very first time I read it, in my teens.. It was an Italian translation (a very good one, indeed) , but I was curious to 'feel' the musicality of the original text.. I was lucky and found the book '' Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada''.. wow.. in Spanish it is simply wonderful! And Neruda was barely 19 (or younger) when he wrote it! (Report) Reply

Read all 32 comments »

Poems About Despair

  1. 1. A Song Of Despair , Pablo Neruda
  2. 2. The Song Of Despair , Pablo Neruda
  3. 3. A Meeting With Despair , Thomas Hardy
  4. 4. Despair , Anne Sexton
  5. 5. Sonnet 144: Two Loves I Have, Of Comfort.. , William Shakespeare
  6. 6. Song Of Despair , Pablo Neruda
  7. 7. Despair , Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  8. 8. Despair , Percy Bysshe Shelley
  9. 9. In Black Despair , Czeslaw Milosz
  10. 10. A Song Of Despair , VIPINS PUTHOORAN
  11. 11. In Despair , Constantine P. Cavafy
  12. 12. Song. Despair , Percy Bysshe Shelley
  13. 13. Shall I Wasting In Despair , George Wither
  14. 14. Hope And Despair , Lascelles Abercrombie
  15. 15. Ode To Despair , Charlotte Smith
  16. 16. Despair , Ada Cambridge
  17. 17. Despair , Kelly Vinal
  18. 18. Ode To Despair , Mary Darby Robinson
  19. 19. Despair , Paul Laurence Dunbar
  20. 20. Fragment: Such Hope, As Is The Sick Desp.. , Percy Bysshe Shelley
  21. 21. Despair , Leo Yankevich
  22. 22. Desire And Despair , C.N.Premkumar (love poems, V ..
  23. 23. But Don'T Despair , Mark R Slaughter
  24. 24. To Reformers In Despair , Vachel Lindsay
  25. 25. Despair , Mary Nagy
  26. 26. Despair , Edith Nesbit
  27. 27. (981) Invitation To Despair , Melvina Germain
  28. 28. Edge Of Despair , Seema Chowdhury
  29. 29. Limerick: There Was An Old Man Whose Des.. , Edward Lear
  30. 30. Hour Of Despair , (brief renderings) Joe Fazio
  31. 31. The Despair , Abraham Cowley
  32. 32. Despair , Esther Leclerc
  33. 33. Beyond Despair , Sarah L. Johnsen
  34. 34. The Difference Between Despair , Emily Dickinson
  35. 35. Somewhere Around Despair , Sofiul Azam
  36. 36. The Valley Of Despair , Patricia Grantham
  37. 37. Despair , Howard Phillips Lovecraft
  38. 38. Happiness...Despair , (brief renderings) Joe Fazio
  39. 39. My Despair Comes And Goes , Shalom Freedman
  40. 40. No Man Can Compass A Despair , Emily Dickinson
  41. 41. The Irony Of Despair , Lauren Phillips
  42. 42. Despair , Jean Blewett
  43. 43. Hours Of Despair... , (brief renderings) Joe Fazio
  44. 44. The Harp, And Despair, Of Cowper , William Lisle Bowles
  45. 45. Despair , Mathilde Blind
  46. 46. Cries Of Despair -Haiku , 2bpositive 2bpositive
  47. 47. Despair , Adeline Foster
  48. 48. Despair , Marian Osborne
  49. 49. Heavy, My Despair , Paul Verlaine
  50. 50. Despair Is Darkness , Shalom Freedman
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