Pablo Neruda: “Waltz”


I touch hatred like a breast that has been covered in the daytime.
I keep going, without stopping, from garment to garment,
sleeping only from a distance.

I don’t exist, I’m no good, I don’t know anyone.
I have no weapons made of either ocean or wood.
I do not live in this house.

My mouth is filled with water and night.
The enduring moon determines
what it is I don’t have.

And what I do have lies in the middle of the waves.
A ray of water, a solitary day for myself,
an iron depth.

There is no crosscurrent, no shield, no costume.
There is no singular, unfathomable solution,
no treacherous eyelid.

I live in the moment, and at other times I follow.
I touch a face suddenly and it murders me.
I have no time.

Don’t look for me when you pull back
the wild thread of your daily work
or the bleeding vine that clings to your wall.

Do not call for me: that is my own occupation.
Do not ask my name or my condition.
Leave me alone in the middle of my moon
upon my own wounded ground.

Pablo Neruda

Translated from Spanish by Paul Weinfield, © 2014

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