Friday poetry 5: Oh, Earth, Wait for Me

pablo_neruda.gif[Editor’s note: Few have employed the Spanish language so masterfully as Pablo Neruda.  I’ve often felt that an important incentive to improve my own rudimentary Spanish would be the ability to read and appreciate Neruda’s poetry in his native tongue.  For now, alas, I have to be satisfied with the translation of by Alastair Reid, who has been called “Neruda’s most talented and imaginitive English translator”.  This is from Neruda’s poetic autobiography, written in his elder years as he reminisced down his long and eventful life from his remote home on the coast of Chile.  As winter winds down here in Virginia, and I can already see in the woods the subtle wash of red maple buds, I’m waiting for the earth too.]

Oh tierra, esperame
(Oh, Earth, Wait for Me)

Pablo Neruda
from “Isla Negra

atacama.jpgReturn me, oh sun,
to my country destiny,
rain of the ancient woods.
Bring me back its aroma, and the swords
falling from the sky,
the solitary peace of pasture and rock,
the damp at the river margins,
the smell of the larch tree,
the wind alive like a heart
beating in the crowded remoteness
of the towering araucaria.

Earth, give me back your pristine gifts,
towers of silence which rose from
the solemnity of their roots.
I want to go back to being what I haven’t been,
to learn to return from such depths
that among all natural things
I may live or not live.  I don’t mind
being one stone more, the dark stone,
the pure stone that the river bears away.

[The photo below shows Neruda’s house at Isla Negra, Chile]



About Emmett Duffy

I am a Natural Patriot and an ecologist with expertise in biodiversity and its importance to human society. My day job is Professor of Marine Science at the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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4 Responses to Friday poetry 5: Oh, Earth, Wait for Me

  1. Jon Campbell says:

    What a beautiful nature poem. In a world where we are destroying nature by the minute, that poem truly brings out the essence of how beautiful nature is giving us a reason to protect it.

  2. April says:

    I’ve never been one for poems but that is certainly very beautiful. I love nature and am always at my happiest when I’m surrounded by trees, flowers, rivers and animals.

  3. Delellis says:

    I agree ,so much abuse have been inflicted on nature. Forest destroyed , countless species of animals are now extinct and the environment teetering on the brink.

    We must do something before it reaches the point of no return and we are left with a barren and lifeless planet.

    – Dino Delellis

  4. Free Bingo says:

    This poem for me is bittersweet.

    At one hand it makes me appreciate nature more. Reminds me of my childhood where I use to spend hours with my cousins playing outdoors soaking in nature.

    The same time it makes me more aware of the damage we are doing to the environment. And that most of us are doing nothing to repair it.