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The Heavenly Poets | Poem by Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda
translated by Jodey Bateman

  What have you done 
  you intellectualists? 
  you mystifiers? 
  you false existentialist sorcerers? 
  you surrealistic poppies shining on a tomb? 
  you pale grubs in the capitalist cheese? 
  What did you do 
  about the kingdom of anguish? 
  about this dark human being 
  kicked into submission? 
  about this head 
  submerged in manure? 
  about this essence 
  of harsh, trampled lives? 
  You didn't do anything but escape 
  you sold piles of debris 
  you looked for heavenly hairs 
  cowardly plants, broken fingernails 
  "pure beauty" "magic". 
  Your works were those of poor frightened folk 
  trying to keep your eyes from looking 
  trying to protect their delicate pupils 
  so you could make for your living 
  a plate of dirty scraps 
  which the masters flung to you. 
  Without seeing that the stones are in agony, 
  without defending, without conquering, 
  blinder than the wreaths 
  in the cemetery when the rain 
  falls on the motionless 
  rotten flowers on the tomb. 

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Other Jodey Bateman translations of Pablo Neruda:
I'll Explain Some Things
What Spain Was Like
An Ode For Ironing
Ode to a Woman Gardening
Ode To Bird Watching
Ode to Broken Things
Ode to Clothing / Oda al Traje
Ode to Olive Oil / Oda al Aceite
Ode to Some Yellow Flowers
Ode to the Artichoke
Ode to the Dictionary
Ode to the Lemon
Ode to the Piano
Ode to the Smell of Wood
Opium In The East (excerpt)
Poem Twenty
For Everybody
From the Heights of Maccho Picchu
Poems by Pablo Neruda, Pulitizer Prize winner
Status Report
The Arrival in Madrid
The Heavenly Poets
The Old Women of the Ocean
The Turtle
To Sit Down
To the Foot From Its Child