Poetry of Pablo Neruda





Sweet Guatemala, each slab
of your mansion takes a drop
of ancient blood devoured
by the mouths of the jaguars.
Alvarado crushed your ancestry,
broke the astral trails,
wallowed in your martyrdoms.

And the bishop entered Yucatán
behind the pale jaguars.
They joined the deeper wisdom
heard in the air
of the first day of the world,
when the first Maya wrote
making note of the trembling of the river,
the science of pollen, the rage
of the surrounding gods,
the migrations across
the first universes,
the laws of the beehive,
the secret of the green bird,
the language of the stars,
secrets of day and night
taken from the shores
of earthly creation!



A Bishop


The bishop raised his arm,
burned books in the plaza
in the name of his tiny God
turning to smoke the ancient pages
weathered by dark time.

And the smoke never returns from the sky.





translated from the Spanish of Pablo Neruda by Caleb Beissert

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