Pablo Neruda: “Night On the Island”

Night On the Island

All night I slept with you,
by the sea, on the island.
You were wild and sweet
between pleasure and sleep,
between fire and water.

Perhaps too late,
our dreams came together
at the top or the bottom,
above us, like branches
moved by common breezes
or below us,
like ruddy roots that touch.

Perhaps your dream
was divided from mine,
and through the dark seas
kept searching for me,
as it did before,
when you didn’t exist,
when without ever noticing you,
I sailed by your side,
and your eyes searched
for things
— bread, wine, love, anger —
I now give to you lavishly
because you are the cup
that waited for the gifts of my life.

I slept with you
the whole night through
while the dark earth spun
with the living and the dead,
and on suddenly waking
in the middle of shadows
my arm caught your waist
and neither night nor sleep
could divide us.

I slept with you
and upon waking, your mouth,
departing from its dream,
gave me a taste of the soil,
of salt water, of seaweed,
the backdrop of your life,
and I received your kiss
made wet by the dawn
as if it traveled to me
from the sea all around us.

Pablo Neruda

Translated from Spanish by Paul Weinfield, © 2015

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