Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Pablo Neruda

There\'s No Forgetting (Sonata)

Ask me where I have been
and I'll tell you: “Things keep on happening.”
I must talk of the rubble that darkens the stones;
of the river’s duration, destroying itself;
I know only the things that the birds have abandoned,
or the ocean behind me, or my sorrowing sister.
Why the distinctions of place? Why should day
follow day? Why must the blackness
of nighttime collect in our mouths? Why the dead?
 
If you question me: where have you come from, I must talk with things falling away,
artifacts tart to the taste,
great, cankering beasts, as often as not,
and my own inconsolable heart.
 
Those who cross over with us are no keepsakes,
nor the yellowing pigeon who sleeps in forgetfulness:
only the face with its tears,
the hands at our throats,
whatever the leafage dissevers:
the dark of an obsolete day,
a day that has tasted the grief in our blood.
 
Here are violets, swallows —
all things that delight us, the delicate tallies
that show in the lengthening train
through which pleasure and transciency pass.
 
Here let us halt, in the teeth of a barrier:
useless to gnaw on the husks that the silence assembles.
For I come without answers:
see: the dying are legion,
legion, the breakwaters breached by the red of the sun,
the headpieces knocking the ship’s side,
the hands closing over their kisses,
and legion the things I would give to oblivion.

Er is geen vergeten (sonate)

Als jullie mij vragen waar ik geweest ben
moet ik zeggen “Het gebeurt”.
Ik moet praten over de grond die de stenen verduisteren,
over de stroom die zich durend vernielt:
ik weet niets tenzij wat de vogels verliezen,
de zee achter mij, of mijn huilende zuster.
Waarom toch al die streken, waarom volgt een dag
op een andere dag? Waarom hoopt een zwarte nacht
zich op in de mond? Waarom de doden?
 
Als jullie mij vragen waar ik vandaan kom, moet ik met gebroken dingen praten,
met te bittere werktuigen,
met grote, vaak rotte dieren
en met mijn gekwelde hart.
 
De herinneringen hebben elkaar niet gekruist
noch slaapt de vergeelde duif in het vergeten,
maar aangezichten met tranen,
vingers in de keel,
en wat van de bladeren in elkaar zakt:
de duisternis van een voorbije dag,
van een dag gevoed met ons droeve bloed.
 
Hier: viooltjes, zwaluwen,
alles wat ons bevalt en verschijnt
op de zachte kaarten met hun lange staart
waarlangs tijd en zachtheid wandelen.
 
Maar laten we niet voorbij die tanden doordringen,
laten we niet op de basten bijten die de stilte ophoopt,
want ik blijf het antwoord schuldig:
er zijn zovele doden,
en zovele dijken door de rode zon gespleten,
en zovele hoofden door schepen geslagen,
en zovele handen door kussen ingesloten,
en zovele dingen die ik wil vergeten.

No Hay Olvido (Sonata)

Si me preguntáis en dónde he estado
debo decir “Sucede”.
Debo de hablar del suelo que oscurecen las piedras,
del río que durando se destruye:
no sé sino las cosas que los pájaros pierden,
el mar dejado atrás, o mi hermana llorando.
Por qué tantas regiones, por qué un día
se junta con un día? Por qué una negra noche
se acumula en la boca? Por qué muertos?

Sí me preguntáis de dónde vengo, tengo que conversar con cosas rotas,
con utensilios demasiado amargos,
con grandes bestias a menudo podridas
y con mi acongojado corazón.

No son recuerdos los que se han cruzado
ni es la paloma amarillenta que duerme en el olvido,
sino caras con lágrimas,
dedos en la garganta,
y lo que se desploma de las hojas:
la oscuridad de un día transcurrido,
de un día alimentado con nuestra triste sangre.

He aquí violetas, golondrinas,
todo cuanto nos gusta y aparece
en las dulces tarjetas de larga cola
por donde se pasean el tiempo y la dulzura.

Pero no penetremos más allá de esos dientes,
no mordamos las cáscaras que el silencio acumula,
porque no sé qué contestar:
hay tantos muertos,
y tantos malecones que el sol rojo partía
y tantas cabezas que golpean los buques,
y tantas manos que han encerrado besos,
y tantas cosas que quiero olvidar.
Close

There\'s No Forgetting (Sonata)

Ask me where I have been
and I'll tell you: “Things keep on happening.”
I must talk of the rubble that darkens the stones;
of the river’s duration, destroying itself;
I know only the things that the birds have abandoned,
or the ocean behind me, or my sorrowing sister.
Why the distinctions of place? Why should day
follow day? Why must the blackness
of nighttime collect in our mouths? Why the dead?
 
If you question me: where have you come from, I must talk with things falling away,
artifacts tart to the taste,
great, cankering beasts, as often as not,
and my own inconsolable heart.
 
Those who cross over with us are no keepsakes,
nor the yellowing pigeon who sleeps in forgetfulness:
only the face with its tears,
the hands at our throats,
whatever the leafage dissevers:
the dark of an obsolete day,
a day that has tasted the grief in our blood.
 
Here are violets, swallows —
all things that delight us, the delicate tallies
that show in the lengthening train
through which pleasure and transciency pass.
 
Here let us halt, in the teeth of a barrier:
useless to gnaw on the husks that the silence assembles.
For I come without answers:
see: the dying are legion,
legion, the breakwaters breached by the red of the sun,
the headpieces knocking the ship’s side,
the hands closing over their kisses,
and legion the things I would give to oblivion.

There\'s No Forgetting (Sonata)

Ask me where I have been
and I'll tell you: “Things keep on happening.”
I must talk of the rubble that darkens the stones;
of the river’s duration, destroying itself;
I know only the things that the birds have abandoned,
or the ocean behind me, or my sorrowing sister.
Why the distinctions of place? Why should day
follow day? Why must the blackness
of nighttime collect in our mouths? Why the dead?
 
If you question me: where have you come from, I must talk with things falling away,
artifacts tart to the taste,
great, cankering beasts, as often as not,
and my own inconsolable heart.
 
Those who cross over with us are no keepsakes,
nor the yellowing pigeon who sleeps in forgetfulness:
only the face with its tears,
the hands at our throats,
whatever the leafage dissevers:
the dark of an obsolete day,
a day that has tasted the grief in our blood.
 
Here are violets, swallows —
all things that delight us, the delicate tallies
that show in the lengthening train
through which pleasure and transciency pass.
 
Here let us halt, in the teeth of a barrier:
useless to gnaw on the husks that the silence assembles.
For I come without answers:
see: the dying are legion,
legion, the breakwaters breached by the red of the sun,
the headpieces knocking the ship’s side,
the hands closing over their kisses,
and legion the things I would give to oblivion.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère