December 14, 2013 meeting of the DC Politics and Prose Poets Society

Today Isn’t Everything

by Pablo Neruda


Something of yesterday clings to today,

a flag or a potsherd;

or simply a notion of light,

the scum on a midnight’s aquarium,
an unwithering thread—
essential tenacity, gold in the air:
something persists, whatever passes away
a little diminished, to fall under the arrows
of the hostile sun and its combats.

Else, why

in the glowing autonomy

of the positive day

that we lived

did a portent of seagulls

stay on, circling back as if it would stagger

the mix of its blue with the blue

that had vanished?

I tell you:

Inside the light

your soul makes its circle,

refining itself to extinction, 

or enlarging its rings like the stroke of a bell.

And between death and rebirth

the space is less grand

than we thought, the frontier

less implacable.

Light’s shape is round as a ring

and we move ourselves by its movements.


Translation: Ben Belitt
From Late and Posthumous Poems: 1968-1974

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