Te Recuerdo Como Eras

October 2, 2006 at 3:59 pm 4 comments

Pablo Neruda

Listen (to Neruda read)

Te recuerdo como eras en el último otoño.
Eras la boina gris y el corazón en calma.
En tus ojos peleaban las llamas del crepúsculo.
Y las hojas caían en el agua de tu alma.

Apegada a mis brazos como una enredadera,
las hojas recoían tu voz lenta y en calma.
Hoguera de estupor en que mi sed ardía.
Dulce jacinto azul torcido sobre mi alma.

Siento viajar tus ojos y es distante el otoño:
boina gris, voz de páajaro y corazón de casa
hacia donde emigraban mis profundos anhelos
y caían mis besos alegres como brasas.

Cielo desde un navio. Campo desde los cerros.
Tu recuerdo es de luz, de humo, de estanque en calma!
Más allá de tus ojos ardían los crepúsculos.
Hojas secas de otoño giraban en tu alma.

I Remember You As You Were

I remember you as you were last autumn.
You were the grey beret and the tranquil heart.
In your eyes the flames of twilight quarreled.
And the leaves fell into the water of your soul.

Fastened to my arms as a clinging vine,
the leaves collected your slow and calm voice.
Bonfire of trance in which my thirst burned.
Sweet blue hyacinth twisted over my soul.

I feel your eyes travel and autumn is far away:
grey beret, voice of a bird and heart of a home
whither my deep longings emigrated
and my happy kisses fell like embers.

Sky from a ship. Field from the hills.
Your memory is of light, of smoke, of a tranquil pond!
Beyond your eyes the twilight’s were burning.
Dry autumn leaves were spinning in your soul.

Poema VI, Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada (Poem VI, Twenty poems of love and a song of despair).

In translation, there is always a sense that you only get rare glimpses of the passionate intensity in Neruda’s verse. The cadence that último and corazón generate is hard to recreate with last and heart. That is void that reading a poem in a foreign language fills – recognizing a word here or a phrase there and trying to solve the poem like a puzzle in your head [1]. Listening to the poet read his work, even better.


[1] “I know it sounds strange, but there’s something fascinating about poetry in a foreign language – listening to the pure rhythm of the words, unalloyed with meaning, spotting a familiar word here or there and trying to imagine the rest. It’s such fun, for instance, reading Neruda in the original. Or Paz. Or Rilke. ” – 2x3x7

[2] “In 1923 he sold all of his possessions to finance the publication of his first book, Crepusculario (“Twilight”). He published the volume under the pseudonym “Pablo Neruda” to avoid conflict with his family, who disapproved of his occupation. The following year, he found a publisher for Veinte poemas de amor y una cancion desesperada (“Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair”). The book made a celebrity of Neruda, who gave up his studies at the age of twenty to devote himself to his craft…” more

[3] Poema XX on pō’ĭ-trē- 1 and 2.

[4] Thx! Cool Man Cool, for the link to this reading.



Entry filed under: Black Mamba, Pablo Neruda, Spanish.

Marginalia The Sickness

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. mary  |  August 27, 2007 at 7:28 pm

    i am not sure what this poem is about, so can you help me figure that out? :| thus far what i have arrived at is nostalgia over someone he used to have and well no longer has.. as well as possible longing for that someone.. although i cannot be sure.. so i was wondering.. :D

  • 2. Mi dueño « GRATING SPACE  |  June 8, 2008 at 12:46 am

    […] was, he did not simply reply “hoja,” but recited from memory the first two stanzas of this poem: Te recuerdo como eras en el último otoño. Eras la boina gris y el corazón en calma. En tus […]

  • 3. Ravi Kopra  |  August 12, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Another translation at

  • 4. free wii issues  |  November 22, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    free wii issues

    Te Recuerdo Como Eras | pō\’ĭ-trē


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