Sunset over Mui Wo, Lantau Island, HK
From dust-laden glances, fallen to earth
or noiseless leaves, self-buried.
From tarnished metals, with the void incarnate,
with the absence of day, dead of a stroke.
In hand-heights, the dazzle of butterflies,
butterflies setting sail in their unbound light.
You were guardian to the light’s stelae, fragmented beings
the late and tardy sun flung at the churches.
Glance-tinted, with the aim of the bees,
your embodiment of unlooked-for flame in flight
preceded and follows day, his golden kin.
Days cruise in secret and lie in ambush
but fall into the trap: your voice of light.
Oh lady of the house of love – in your repose
I ground my dreams, my hushed expectancy.
With your body shyly numbered, extended suddenly
out to the quantities which have defined the earth,
beyond the broils of the white days in space,
cold with the slow deaths and withering incentives,
I feel your lap burning and your kisses passing
like early summer swallows in my dreams.
Times are when what your tears may wish to be
like age reaches my forehead-
there waves are battering, tripping themselves to death:
their motion humid, fallen, final.
(Translated by N.T.)
- The River Silver, Mui Wo, Lantau Island, HK
Poetry by Pablo Neruda
A Study Guide to Pablo Neruda’s Poems