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The Old Women of the Ocean | Poem by Pablo Neruda


 
Pablo Neruda
translated by Jodey Bateman

 
THE OLD WOMEN OF THE OCEAN 

To the solemn sea the old women come
With their shawls knotted around their necks
With their fragile feet cracking.

They sit down alone on the shore
Without moving their eyes or their hands
Without changing the clouds or the silence.

The obscene sea breaks and claws
Rushes downhill trumpeting
Shakes its bull's beard.

The gentle old ladies seated
As if in a transparent boat
They look at the terrorist waves.

Where will they go and where have they been?
They come from every corner
They come from our own lives.

Now they have the ocean
The cold and burning emptiness
The solitude full of flames.

They come from all the pasts
From houses which were fragrant
From burnt-up evenings.

They look, or don't look, at the sea
With their walking sticks they draw signs in the sand
And the sea erases their calligraphy.

The old women get up and go away
With their fragile bird feet
While the waves flood in
Traveling naked in the wind.

 

 
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Other Jodey Bateman translations of Pablo Neruda:
I'll Explain Some Things
Soneto LXXIII
What Spain Was Like
An Ode For Ironing
Beasts
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
GAUTAMA CHRIST
For Everybody
From the Heights of Maccho Picchu
Poems by Pablo Neruda, Pulitizer Prize winner
Statues
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
Triangles

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