On devotion


When your hands go out,

love, toward mine,

what do they bring me flying?

Why did they stop

at my mouth, suddenly,

why do I recognize them

as if then, before,

I had touched them,

as if before they existed

they had passed over

my forehead, my waist?

Their softness came

flying over time,

over the sea, over the smoke,

over the spring,

and when you placed

your hands on my chest,

I recognized those golden

dove wings.

I recognized that clay

and that color of wheat.

All the years of my life

I walked around looking for them.

I went up the stairs,

I crossed the roads,

trains carried me,

waters brought me,

and in the skin of the grapes

I thought I touched you.

The wood suddenly

brought me your touch,

the almond announced to me

your secret softness,

until your hands

closed on my chest

and there like two wings

they ended their journey.


Pablo Neruda


Translated from Spanish by Donald D. Walsh


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