Poetry Friday: “Full Powers” by Pablo Neruda

I have a feeling I loved this poem so much because of the state I was in when I first read it: exhausted, hadn’t eaten all day, running on adrenaline. Maybe this is the delirious state that geniuses work in all the time. Whatever the reason, I couldn’t help but love this poem.

I write in broad sunlight, in the high-tide of the street
and the ocean, wherever it is that I sing:
only the wandering night can detain me,
but I gather up space in that interval
and store away shadow for time yet to come.

Night ripens its black harvest
as my eyes measure the meadow-
I ready the keys from one sun to another:
I feel in the dark for the locks,
I keep opening broken doors to the sea
til the wardrobes are crammed with its foam.

I never tire of coming and going,
death never closes my way with a stone,
I never weary of being and non-being.

Sometimes I ask myself: where did they come from-
was it father or mother or mountains
that left me these debts to the mineral kingdom,

these threads from a fiery sea?
All I know is: I keep moving, I move to be moving,
I sing because I sing because I sing.

Nothing explains what takes place
when my eyes close and I drift
as between two underseas channels:
one lifts me to die in its branches,
the other sings to enhance my own singing.

So it goes: I was shaped out of nullity,
like the sea battering away at a reef
with briny capsules of whiteness,
pulling the pebbles back with the waves.
However death works to circle me in,
something opens a window to life in me.
I sleep in the quick of a spasm.
In broad daylight, I walk through a shadow.


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