Monday, March 16, 2009

Ode to a Star by Neruda

Appearing at night
on the terrace
of a bitter and very high skyscraper,
I could touch the nocturnal dome
and in an act of extraordinary love
I seized a sky-blue star.

The night was black
and I slipped along
the street
with the stolen star in my pocket.
Of tremulous crystal
it seemed,
and suddenly
it was
as if I was carrying
a package of ice,
or an archangel’s sword at my belt.

I kept it
under the bed
so nobody would discover it,
but its light
first pierced through
the woolen mattress,
the tiles,
the roof of my house.

The most private needs
for me.

Always with that light
of astral acetylene
flashing like it wanted
to return to the night,
I couldn’t tend to all
my duties,
and so I forgot to pay my bills
and wound up without bread or provisions.

Meanwhile, in the street,
passerby milled around,
doubtless attracted
by the unusual brilliance
they saw coming from my window.

I picked up
my star again,
wrapped it in my handkerchief,
and disguised among the crowd
I could pass unrecognized.

I went west,
to the Green River,
for there under the willows
it was calm.

I took the star of the cold night
and gently
cast it unto the waters.

And I wasn’t surprised
that it floated away
like an insoluble fish
in the night of the river
its diamond body.

(Thank you Marcy!)