Here's another Neruda gem, about the aftermath of war. Translation by Donald D. Walsh:http://www.holtzbrinckpublishers.com/academic/book/BookDisplay.asp?BookKey=1454527The Destroyed Street
Through the insulted iron, through the plaster eyes
passes a tongue of years different
from time. It is a tail
of harsh hairs, hands of stone filled with anger,
and the color of the houses is hushed, and architectural
decisions burst forth,
a terrible foot dirties the balconies:
slowly, with accumulated shadow,
with masks bitten by winter and slowness,
the lofty-browed days walk about
among moonless houses.
Water and custom and the white mud
that the star emits, and especially
the air that the bells have struck furiously,
exhaust things, tough
the wheels, stop
in cigar stores,
and the red hair grows in the cornices
like a long lament, while down to the depths
fall keys, clocks
flowers resembling oblivion.
Where is the newborn violet? Where
the necktie and the virginal red zephyr?
Over the towns
a tongue of rotted dust advances,
breaking rings, gnawing painting,
making the black chairs howl voiceless,
covering the cement rosettes, the bulwarks
of shattered metal,
the garden and the wool, the enlargements of ardent photographs
wounded by the rain, the thirst of the bedrooms, and the huge
movie posters on which struggle
the panther and the thunder,
the geranium's lances, the stores filled with spoiled honey,
the cough, the suits of shiny weave,
everything is covered with a mortal taste
of retreat and dampness and injury.
Perhaps the stifled conversations, the rustle of bodies,
the virtue of the weary ladies who nest in the smoke,
the tomatoes implacably assassinated,
the passage of the sad horses of a sad regiment,
the light, the pressure of many nameless fingers
use up the flat fiber of the lime,
surround the facades with neutral air
like knives: while
the air of danger gnaws at circimstances,
bricks, salt, spills like water
and the fat-axled wagons lurch.
Wave of broken roses and holes! future
of the fragrant vein! Pitiless objects!
Let nobody wander about! Let nobody open up his arms
within the blind water!
Oh movement, oh ill-wounded name,
oh spoonful of confused wind
and flogged color! Oh woundinto which fall
to their deaths the blue guitars!
Pablo Neruda, written probably around 1945?
Translated: Donald D Walsh