System of Gloom

From every one of these days black as old iron,
and opened up by the sun like big red oxen,
and barely kept alive by air and by dreams,
and suddenly and irremediably vanished,
nothing has taken the place of my troubled beginnings,
and the unequal measures pumping through my heart
are forged there day and night, all by themselves,
adding up to messy and miserable sums.

So that’s how, like a lookout gone blind and senseless,
incredulous and condemned to a painful watch,
facing the wall where each day’s time congeals,
my different faces gather and are bound in chains
like large, heavy, faded flowers
stubbornly temporary, dead already.

Pablo Neruda


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