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Ode to a Woman Gardening

by Pablo Neruda, translated by Jodey Bateman
 
 Yes, I knew that your hands were
 a budding sprout, a lily
 of silver:
 you had something to do
 with the soil,
 with the flowering of the earth,
 but
 when
 I saw you digging, digging,
 pushing pebbles apart
 and guiding roots
 I knew at once,
 my farming woman,
 that
 not only
 your hands
 but your heart
 were of earth,
 that there
 you were
 making
 your things,
 touching
 moist
 doorways
 through which
 the
 seeds
 circulate.
 
 So in this way
 from one plant
 to the other
 recently
 planted one,
 with your face
 spotted
 with a kiss
 from the clay,
 you went
 and came back
 flowering,
 you went
 and from your hand
 the stem
 of the astromeria
 raised its solitary elegance,
 the jasmine
 adorned
 the mist on your brow
 with stars of dew and fragrance.
 
 Everything
 grew from you
 penetrating
 into the earth
 and becoming
 green light,
 foliage and power
 you communicated
 your seeds to it,
 my beloved,
 red gardening woman:
 your hand
 on familiar terms
 with the earth
 and the bright growing
 was instantaneous.
 Love, thus also
 your hand
 of water,
 your heart of earth,
 gave
 fertility
 and strength to my songs
 you touch
 my chest
 while I sleep
 and trees blossom
 from my dreaming.
 I wake up, open my eyes,
 and you have
 inside me
 stars in the shadows
 which will rise and shine
 in my song.
 
 That's how it is, gardening woman:
 our love
 is
 earthly:
 your mouth is a plant of light, a corolla,
 my heart works among the roots.

 
 
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