Pablo Neruda: “So Much Happens In a Day”

So Much Happens In a Day

In the course of a day
we will see each other.

But so much happens in a day.

Grapes get sold on sidewalks.
Tomatoes change their skins.
The girl you fancied
never returned to the office.

Without warning, the postman changed.
Now none of the letters are at all the same.
A few gold leaves and everything is different.
This tree has become a wealthy man.

Who would have told us that the earth
with its ancient skin could change so much?
It has more volcanos than it did yesterday.
The sky has so many brand-new clouds.
The rivers run backwards.

And how much has been built!
I have inaugurated hundreds
of highways, buildings,
bridges, fine and fragile
like ships or violins.

And so, when I come to you
to kiss your flowering mouth,
our kisses must be other kisses,
our mouths, other mouths.


Joy, my love, joy in all things.
Joy in what fails and what flourishes.
Joy in yesterday and joy in today,
in the days that have passed
and the days yet to come.

Joy in bread and joy in stone.
Joy in fire and joy in rain.
Joy in what changes,
in what is born and changes,
in what is consumed again
and returns to a kiss.

Joy in the measure
of air we’ve been given.
Joy in the measure
of earth we have.
Joy when our lives
have shriveled away
and all we have left
are the roots.

Joy when the wind
is cold as hatred.

For it is then, my love,
that we change our skins,
our fingernails, our blood,
our very eyes.

It is then that you kiss me
and I set out
to sell my light
on the open road

Joy to the night
as well as to the day.

Joy to the four seasons
of the soul.

Pablo Neruda

Translated from Spanish by Paul Weinfield, © 2015
Photo by Isa Marcelli

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