Saturday, 29 August 2009

Pablo Neruda's The Book of Questions, Part 1 of 2

As translated by William O'Daly for Copper Canyon Press and published in 1991.


XIII

Is it true that a black condor
flies at night over my country?

XV

How did the abandoned bicycle
win its freedom?

XX

What do they call a flower
that flies from bird to bird?
. . .

And why did cheese decide
to perform heroic deeds in France?

XXI

Where is the center of the sea?
Why do waves never go there?

XXVII

Do you have room for some thorns?
they asked the rosebush.

XXVIII

Where can you find a bell
that will ring in your dreams?

XXXI

Why do I go rolling without wheels,
flying without wings or feathers,

and why did I decide to migrate
if my bones live in Chile?

XXXIII

Are they birds or fish
in these nets of moonlight?

XXXV

Will our life not be a tunnel
between two vague clarities?
. . .

Or will life not be a fish
prepared to be a bird?

XXXIX

Do you not weep surrounded by laughter
with bottles of oblivion?

XL

What do they call the sadness
of a solitary sheep?

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