Pablo Neruda: “Nada Pero Muerte/Nothing But Death”

sailboat

Nada Pero Muerte
Hay los cementerios que son solos,
sepulcros por completo de los huesos que no hacen un sonido,
el corazón que se mueve a través de un túnel,
en él oscuridad, oscuridad, oscuridad,
como un naufragio morimos el entrar nosotros mismos,
como si nos ahogábamos dentro de nuestros corazones,
como si vivimos cayendo de la piel en el alma.

Y hay cadáveres,
pies hechos de la arcilla fría y pegajosa,
la muerte está dentro de los huesos,
como raspar donde no hay perros,
viniendo hacia fuera de campanas en alguna parte, de sepulcros en alguna parte,
crecimiento en el aire húmedo como los rasgones de la lluvia.

Veo a veces solamente
ataúdes debajo de la vela,
emprendiendo los muertos pálidos, con las mujeres que tienen pelo muerto,
con los panaderos que son tan blancos como ángeles,
y las muchachas jóvenes pensativas casaron con los públicos del notario,
ataúdes que navegan encima del río vertical de los muertos,
el río de la púrpura oscura,
la mudanza contra la corriente con las velas completó por el sonido de la muerte,
llenado por el sonido de la muerte que es silencio.

La muerte llega entre todo ese sonido
como un zapato sin pie en él, como un juego sin hombre en él,
vienen y los golpes, usando un anillo sin piedra en ella, sin
dedo en él,
viene y grita sin boca, sin la lengüeta, sin
garganta.
Sin embargo sus pasos pueden ser oídos
y su ropa hace un sonido hushed, como un árbol.

No soy seguro, yo entiendo solamente un poco, yo puedo ver apenas,
pero se parece a mí que el su cantar tiene el color de violetas húmedas,
de las violetas que están en el país en la tierra,
porque la cara de la muerte es verde,
y la muerte de la mirada da es verde,
con la humedad penetrante de una hoja violeta
y el color del somber del invierno embittered.

Pero la muerte también pasa a través del mundo vestido como escoba,
traslapando el piso, buscando cuerpos muertos,
la muerte está dentro de la escoba,
la escoba es la lengüeta de la muerte que busca los cadáveres,
es la aguja de la muerte que busca el hilo de rosca.

La muerte es interior los cots que doblan:
pasa su vida que duerme en los colchones lentos,
en las mantas negras, y respira repentinamente hacia fuera:
sopla fuera de un sonido mournful que hinche las hojas,
y las camas van a navegar hacia un puerto
donde está el esperar la muerte, vestido como un almirante.
Pablo Neruda

Nothing But Death
There are cemeteries that are lonely,
graves full of bones that do not make a sound,
the heart moving through a tunnel,
in it darkness, darkness, darkness,
like a shipwreck we die going into ourselves,
as though we were drowning inside our hearts,
as though we lived falling out of the skin into the soul.

And there are corpses,
feet made of cold and sticky clay,
death is inside the bones,
like a barking where there are no dogs,
coming out from bells somewhere, from graves somewhere,
growing in the damp air like tears of rain.

Sometimes I see alone
coffins under sail,
embarking with the pale dead, with women that have dead hair,
with bakers who are as white as angels,
and pensive young girls married to notary publics,
caskets sailing up the vertical river of the dead,
the river of dark purple,
moving upstream with sails filled out by the sound of death,
filled by the sound of death which is silence.

Death arrives among all that sound
like a shoe with no foot in it, like a suit with no man in it,
comes and knocks, using a ring with no stone in it, with no
finger in it,
comes and shouts with no mouth, with no tongue, with no
throat.
Nevertheless its steps can be heard
and its clothing makes a hushed sound, like a tree.

I’m not sure, I understand only a little, I can hardly see,
but it seems to me that its singing has the color of damp violets,
of violets that are at home in the earth,
because the face of death is green,
and the look death gives is green,
with the penetrating dampness of a violet leaf
and the somber color of embittered winter.

But death also goes through the world dressed as a broom,
lapping the floor, looking for dead bodies,
death is inside the broom,
the broom is the tongue of death looking for corpses,
it is the needle of death looking for thread.

Death is inside the folding cots:
it spends its life sleeping on the slow mattresses,
in the black blankets, and suddenly breathes out:
it blows out a mournful sound that swells the sheets,
and the beds go sailing toward a port
where death is waiting, dressed like an admiral.

Translation by Robert Bly (b. 23 Dec 1926)

Photo credit: Sailboat and the Hawaiian Night by cattle class

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4 thoughts on “Pablo Neruda: “Nada Pero Muerte/Nothing But Death”

  1. i think this poem reflects my personality because its all emo like ME IM a very timid and morose person who is always lugubrious when it comes to love. i love you ALL… XOXOXOXO

  2. im writing in response to edgar’s comment. i would have to disagree with your opinion on the word “emo”… i think that this poem was not meant by the poet to be looked highly upon by this new wave of scene/emo kids.

  3. Interesting responses. In what way, if any, does Briana&hearts’ criterion “meant by the poet” matter to readers of poems?

  4. in response to matt salomon, it matters plenty. if you were to find yourself to be a writer, a poet even. then drop dead. and be known for your work for simply the opposite that you wanted to portray in the first place, that would most defintaley suck balls. dont you think? i would hate to be looked up upon for something that wasnt meant to be portrayed, a false kind of work(s). so yes sir, it matters plenty. being a learned person analysis of things should come in more than one format, given this the poet could have meant a lot of things. but there are some things that can be way off. too off.

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