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Burial and Blaze of Pablo Neruda

by Marjorie Agosín

translated from the Spanish by Cola Franzen


When they came looking for him
the sun complicitous and generous
was a pitiless illuminated fringe
uncovering the ungainly visions
of the sickly guards.

They struck the feeble with the fist of the
absent
they wanted at all costs
to find communists,
knives,
firearms,
mistaken
they only saw a head of fire
a crown of light
solitary offering for the
dead.

They only found
dangerous poems
that spoke of the testament of love
and autumns in the islands of the open sea.

Not satisfied they went down
to the labyrinth of the basement
they only found wooden locomotives
an enchantment of games for the
innocent,
they only found bottles travel companions of seafarers
with dream-filled eyes
and enormous keys of open
algae
sonorous
like bells along the coast.

When they came to kill the
communists
the overweight
the carpenters
they only found
dangerous
poetry
and a fiery head
dancing above the
green ink.

 

Marjorie Agosín teaches in the Spanish Department at Wellesley College. Her most recent books of poetry are Women of Smoke and Zones of Pain, both bilingual editions, translated by Naomi Lindstrom and Cola Franzen, respectively. (1992)

Cola Franzen translates the creative work of three Latin American writers: Alicia Borinsky and Saul Yurkievich, both born in Argentina, and Juan Cameron, a Chilean. She lives in Cambridge. (1990)


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