I Ask for Silence
Now they can leave me in peace.
Now they grow used to my absence.
I am going to close my eyes.
I want only five things,
five chosen roots.
One is an endless love.
Two is to see the autumn.
I cannot exist without leaves
flying and falling to the earth.
The third is the solemn winter,
the rain I loved, the caress
of fire in the rough cold.
Fourth, the summer,
plump as a watermelon.
And fifthly, your eyes,
Matilde, my dear love,
I won’t sleep without your eyes,
I won’t exist without your gaze,
I adjust the spring
for you to follow me with your eyes.
That, friends, is all I want.
Next to nothing, close to everything.
Now they can go if they wish.
I have lived so much that some day
they will have to forget me forcibly,
rubbing me off the blackboard.
My heart was inexhaustible.
But because I ask for silence,
don’t think I’m going to die.
The opposite is true;
it happens I am going to live.
To be, and to go on being.
I will not be, however, if inside me,
the crop does not keep sprouting,
the shoots first, breaking through the earth
to reach the light;
but the mothering earth is dark,
and, deep inside me, I am dark.
I am a well in the water of which
the night leaves behind stars
and goes on alone across fields.
It’s a question of having lived so much
that I want to live a bit more.
I never felt my voice so clear,
never have been so rich in kisses.
Now, as always, it is early.
The light is a swarm of bees.
Let me alone with the day.
I ask leave to be born.
Pablo Neruda, I Explain a Few Things: Selected Poems. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Bilingual edition, October 2, 2007)