Pablo Neruda: “Each Day You Play”

Each Day You Play

Each day you play with the light of the world.
Subtle visitor, you arrive in flower and water.
You are more than this white head I hold so tightly
as a bouquet, each day, between both my hands.

You are like nobody since I love you.
Let me spread you out among yellow wreaths.
Who writes your name in smoke among southern stars?
Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed.

The wind howls suddenly and bangs on my shut window.
The sky is a net filled with shadowy fish.
Here come the winds, every single one.
The rain undresses.

Birds go by, fleeing.
The wind.  The wind.
And I can only contend against the power of men.
The storm whirls dark leaves
and frees boats that last night were moored to the sky.

But you are here.  Oh, you don’t run away.
You answer me to the final cry.
Cling to me now as if you were afraid.
Even if a strange shadow once ran through your eyes.

And now too, little one, you bring me honeysuckle,
and your breasts, too, are filled with their scent.
While the sad wind goes slaughtering butterflies,
I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth.

How you must have suffered getting used to me,
to my lonely, savage soul, my name that sends them all running.
How often we’ve watched stars burn and kiss our eyes,
and above our heads, gray light unwind in spinning fans.

My words rained over you, stroking you.
For long I have loved the sunned pearl of your body.
So long, in fact, I believe you own the universe.
So I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells,
dark hazels, a rustic basket of kisses.

I want to do with you
what spring does with the cherry trees.

— Pablo Neruda

Translated from Spanish by Paul Weinfield, © 2013

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