You've asked me what the lobster is weaving there with
his golden feet?
I reply, the ocean knows this.
You say, what is the ascidia waiting for in its transparent
bell? What is it waiting for?
I tell you it is waiting for time, like you.
You ask me whom the Macrocystis alga hugs in its arms?
Study, study it, at a certain hour, in a certain sea I know.
You question me about the wicked tusk of the narwhal,
and I reply by describing
how the sea unicorn with the harpoon in it dies.
You enquire about the kingfisher's feathers,
which tremble in the pure springs of the southern tides?
Or you've found in the cards a new question touching on
the crystal architecture
of the sea anemone, and you'll deal that to me now?
You want to understand the electric nature of the ocean
The armored stalactite that breaks as it walks?
The hook of the angler fish, the music stretched out
in the deep places like a thread in the water?

I want to tell you the ocean knows this, that life in its
jewel boxes
is endless as the sand, impossible to count, pure,
and among the blood-colored grapes time has made the
hard and shiny, made the jellyfish full of light
and untied its knot, letting its musical threads fall
from a horn of plenty made of infinite mother-of-pearl.

I am nothing but the empty net which has gone on ahead
of human eyes, dead in those darknesses,
of fingers accustomed to the triangle, longitudes
on the timid globe of an orange.

I walked around as you do, investigating
the endless star,
and in my net, during the night, I woke up naked,
the only thing caught, a fish trapped inside the wind.

Translated by Robert Bly

by Pablo Neruda

Comments (9)

A lighter touch from Milton, he also famously wrote Comus, A Mask for the earl of Bridgwater, which is similar in themes to Arcades. You have to admire the elegance of his writing, his knowledge of theology and classic mythology is second to none, no one will ever write like this again.
I envy the age when puissant was a word ready at hand to gloss off a line. The masterpieces will never die, we will just become too dull to perceive their light. A fine morning for a jaunt through Arcadia. Congratulations, John, on being chosen Poet of the Day. Keep up the good work! ;)
Marvelous style with equally marvelous narration of the classic gives a great joy to read. Thanks for sharing it here.
Deeply learned in mythologies, and classical literatures of Latin and Greek, John Milton's poems are ever a great task with just one reading of the poem ever!
Wonderfully penned....I love it.
See More