Ode to the Coastal Flowers/ Oda a Las Flores de la Costa

By PABLO NERUDA

 

The Isla Negra wildflowers
are blooming,
they have no names, some
seem like sand crocuses,
others
illuminate
the ground with yellow lighting.

 

I’m a pastoral poet.

 

I feed myself
like a hunter;
near the sea, at night,
I build a fire.

 

Only this flower, only this
marine solitude;
and you, glad,
simple, like an earthly rose.

 

Life
begged me to be a fighter;
I organized my heart around struggle,
and keeping hope alive:
I’m a brother
to man, to everyone.
My two hands
are named duty and love.

 

I stare
at the coastal
stones,
while the flowers that lasted
through oblivion
and winter
to raise a tiny ray
of light and fragrance
to tell me farewell
yet again
farewell to the sand,
the wood,
the fire
of the forest,
the sand
it hurts to walk along.
I’d rather stay here,
not on the streets.
I’m a pastoral poet.

 

And duty and love are my two hands.

 

 

Translated by Ilan Stavans

 

Pablo Neruda, a renowned Chilean poet, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. 

[Purchase your copy of Issue 05 here]

Ode to the Coastal Flowers/ Oda a Las Flores de la Costa

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