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Rain (Rapa Nui) by Pablo Neruda

No, better the Queen not recognize
your face, it's sweeter
this way, my love, far from the effigies, the weight
of your hair in my hands. Do you remember
the Mangareva tree whose flowers fell
in your hair? These fingers are not like
the white petals: look at them they are like roots,
they are like stone shoots over which the lizard
slides. Don't be afraid, we will wait for the rain to fall, naked,
the rain, the same as falls over Manu Tara.

But just as water inures its strokes on the stone,
it falls on us, washing us softly
towards obscurity down below the hole
of Ranu Raraku. And so
don't let the fishermen or the wine-pitcher see you.
Bury your twin-burning breast on my mouth,
and let your head of hair be a small night for me,
a darkness of wet perfume enveloping me.

At night I dream that you and I are two plants
that grew together, roots entwined,
and that you know the earth and the rain like my mouth,
since we are made of earth and rain. Sometimes
I think that with death we will seep below,
in the depths at the feet of he effigy, looking over
the ocean which brought us here to build and make love.

My hands were not ferrous when they met you, the waters
of another sea went through them as through a net; now
water and stones sustain seeds and secrets.

Sleeping and naked, love me: on the shore
you are like the island: your love confused, your love
astonished, hidden in the cavity of dreams,
is like the movement of the sea around us.

And when I too begin falling asleep
in your love, naked,
leave my hand between your breasts so it can throb
along with your nipples wet with rain.

(Trans. Anthony Kerrigan)

4 comments:

cbb said...

Wordcrafter, surely you've seen "Il Postino," the wonderful movie in which Neruda plays a central role. It's the only movie I've ever watched more than four times, and the soundtrack from it is equally wonderful since it includes terrific readings of his poetry by various famous people.

Beautiful choice of poem, by the way. I hadn't read it before this...

Fireblossom said...

I love Pablo Neruda's poetry. he makes me feel challenged. I especially love the line about her hair being a "small night." (I have long dark hair, I WOULD like that lol)

Il Postino introduced me to Neruda, but the postman confused me. He seemed far more interested in Pablo than in Miss Hot Stuff.

WORDCRAFTER said...

FB, I particularly love that line too, it is so beautiful, making a small night with her hair..

Antonionioni said...

The place names sound like Maori to e - the only other possibility is some obscure South or Central American dialect perhaps. I enjoyed the translation; it seemed to convey the original feeling better thn many translations of Neruda.