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By Pablo Neruda

Translated by William O'Daly

Matilde, years or days   

sleeping, feverish,   

here or there,

gazing off,

twisting my spine,   

bleeding true blood,   

perhaps I awaken   

or am lost, sleeping:

hospital beds, foreign windows,

white uniforms of the silent walkers,

the clumsiness of feet.


And then, these journeys   

and my sea of renewal:   

your head on the pillow,   

your hands floating

in the light, in my light,   

over my earth.


It was beautiful to live   

when you lived!


The world is bluer and of the earth   

at night, when I sleep

enormous, within your small hands.


Reprinted from The Sea and the Bells (2002) by Pablo Neruda, translated by William O’Daly. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.

Source: The Sea and the Bells (City Lights Books, 2002)

  • Living
  • Love
  • Relationships

Poet Bio

Pablo Neruda
Born Ricardo Eliezer Neftali Reyes y Basoalto, Pablo Neruda adopted the pseudonym under which he would become famous while still in his early teens. He grew up in Temuco in the backwoods of southern Chile. Neruda is considered one of the greatest and most influential poets of the twentieth century. His work has been translated into dozens of languages.

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