About Jodey Bateman Pablo Neruda Translations by Jodey Bateman Contributors Abuela Musica Jalapeno Peppers Children’s Page Finder Submissions

To Sit Down | Poem by Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda
translated by Jodey Bateman

Everyone seated 
at the table 
on a throne 
at meetings 
in train cars 
in a chapel 
on the sea 
on a plane, in school, in the stadium 
everyone, seated or getting ready to sit down 
but no one will remember 
any chair 
that my hands have made. 
What happened? Why, if my fates 
made me, among other things, to be seated, 
why don't they let me 
stick four legs 
from a dead tree 
into a seat, for the support 
of my neighbor 
who should wait there for the birth 
or the death of someone he loved? 
(The chair that I couldn't make, that I didn't make, 
transforming the style 
of the very nature of wood 
making a clear, plain apparatus 
out of the shadowy ceremonies of the trees) 
The circular saw 
like a planet 
came downward at night 
to the earth 
and rolled through the forests 
of my country 
passed by without seeing through my worm-hole 
was lost in its own sound 
and so that was how I walked 
in the aroma 
of the sacred forest 
without committing aggression with a hatchet 
against the trees 
without taking into my hands 
the decision on the knowledge 
of how to cut through thickets 
and extract 
the chair 
of immobility 
and to repeat that action 
until everyone in the world is seated. 

back to Jodey
back to Pablo
home to Moongate