Pablo Neruda: “Leaning Into the Afternoons”

Leaning Into the Afternoons

Leaning into the afternoons, I cast my sad nets
toward your oceanic eyes.

There in the highest fire, my solitude stretches
and burns, its arms flailing like a drowned man’s.

I send out red signals across your absent eyes
that flutter like the sea at the edge of a lighthouse.

But you keep only darkness, distant female,
and in your gaze sometimes the coast of dread emerges.

Leaning into the afternoons, I fling my sad nets
toward a sea that is thrashed by your oceanic eyes.

The birds of night peck at the first stars
that flash like my soul when I love you.

The night gallops on its shadowy mare,
shedding blue tassels across the landscape.

— Pablo Neruda

Translated from Spanish by Paul Weinfield, © 2013
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