The Turtle

by Pablo Neruda, as translated by Jodey Bateman


The turtle who
walked so long
and saw so much
with
his
ancient
eyes,
the turtle
who ate
olives
from the deepest
sea,
the turtle who swam
for seven centuries
and knew
seven
thousand
springtimes,
the turtle
hooded
against
the heat
and  cold,
against
sunrays and waves,
the yellow
turtle
plated
with severe
amber
scales
and feet for catching prey,
the turtle
stopped
here
to sleep
and didn't know it.
So old
that he kept
getting harder,
he quit
loving the waves
and became rigid
like a clothing iron.
He closed
the eyes which
had defied
so much
sea, sky, time and earth,
and went to sleep
among the other
stones.

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