Girl Gardening




Yes: I knew that your hands were
a blossoming clove and the silvery
lily;
your notable way
with a furrow
and the flowering marl;
but
when
I saw you delve deeper, dug under
to uncouple the cobble
and limber the roots,
I knew in a moment,
little husbandman,
your heartbeats
were earthen
no less
than your hands
that there,
you were
shaping
a thing that was always
your own,
touching
the drench
of those doorways
through
which
swirl
the seeds.

So
plant after plant
each
fresh
from the planting
your face
stained
with the kiss
of the ooze,
your flowering
went out
and returned
you went out
and the tube
of the Alstroemeria
there under your hands
raised its lonely and delicate
presence, the jasmine
devised
a cloud for your temples
starry with the scent and the dew.

The whole
of you prospered,
piercing down
into the earth,
greening
the light
like a thunderclap
in a massing of leafage and power.
You confided
your seedlings,
my darling,
like red husbandman;
your hand
fondled
the earth
and straightaway
the growing was luminous.

Even so,
your watery
fingers,
the dust of your heart,
bring us word
of fecundity, love,
and summon the strength of my songs.
Touching
my heart
while I sleep
trees bloom
on my dream.
I waken and widen my eyes,
and you plant
in my flesh
the darkening stars
that rise
in my song.

So it is, little husbandman:
our loves
are
terrestrial:
your mouth is a planting of lights, a corolla,
and my heart works below in the roots.


Pablo Neruda
Odas elementales.

Translation by Ben Belitt.







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