Ode To the Smell of Wood by Pablo Neruda

translated by Jodey Bateman

Late, with the stars
open in the cold
I open the door.
                The sea
galloped
in the night.

Like a hand
from the dark house
came the intense
aroma
of firewood in the pile.

The aroma was visible
as
if the tree
were alive.
As if it still breathed.

Visible
like a garment.

Visible
like a broken branch.

I walked
into
the house
surrounded
by that balsam-flavored
darkenss.
Outside
the points
in the sky sparkled
like magnetic stones
and the smell of the wood

touched
my heart
like some fingers,
like jasmine,
like certain memories.

It wasn't the sharp smell
of the pines,
no,
it wasn't
the break in the skin
of the eucalyptus,
neither was it
the green perfumes
of the grapevine stalk,
but
something more secret,
because that fragrance
only one
only one
time existed,
and there, of all I have seen in the world
in my own house at night, next to the winter sea,
was waiting for me
the smell
of the deepest rose,
the heart cut from the earth,
something that invaded me like a wave
breaking loose
from time
and it lost itself in me
when I opened the door
of the night.

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