your laughter.

Deprive me of bread, if you want,
deprive me of air, but
don't deprive me of your laughter.

Don't deprive me of the rose,
the spear you shed the grains with,
the water splashing
swiftly in your joy,
the sudden silver wave
born in you.

My struggle is painful. As I return
with my eyes sometimes tired
from watching
the unchanging earth,
your laughter enters
and raises to heaven
in search of me,
to open
all the doors of life.

My loved one, in the darkest hour,
unsheathe your laughter,
and if suddenly
you see my blood staining the cobblestones,
laugh, for your laughter
will be for my hands
like an unsullied sword.

Near the sea in autumn,
your laughter must rise
in its cascade of foam,
and in spring, my love,
I want your laughter
to be like the flower I anticipated,
the blue flower, the rose
of my resonant homeland.

Laugh at the night,
at the day, at the moon,
laugh at the twisted streets of the island,
laugh at this clumsy
young man who loves you.
Yet when I open my eyes
and close them,
when my steps go,
when my steps return,
deny me bread, air,
light, spring,
but never your laughter
for I would die.

-- Pablo Neruda [translated by Ilan Stavans]


  1. Did I ever tell you a friend of mine recently gave me a book of Pablo Neruda's poems? I cannot wait to read them once all my school bullshit is over!

  2. Paby(we're close friends, so I call him that) is so lovely, isn't he? I had several books of his poetry but lost a few. Luckily I acquired an AWESOME large edition of his poetry to make up for it a couple months ago!