Insight into South Asia

My dog has died

Just like most of you, I have come across the name Pablo Neruda multiple times..I admit that I am a skeptic when it comes to Poets..Not all kinds, but the kinds unraveling life’s knots with flowery language or the ones blabbering about love intoxicated with hormones..It may also be, due to the fact that the poets I read were addicts or simply irresponsible men. So you can understand my sense of insult, when they explain the philosophy of life..But there is another kind I like..The ones who can capture a delicate moment, that you even forgot existed in you..

I already like Pablo Neruda on reading his or my first poem. A friend once told me that you become the author, when you read a story, as only you define its meaning. I can’t define why I like this poem. It may not be because the poem reminded me of my dog, from my childhood. Because I never had a dog like this..But my mother once had a dog like this. It might have been the fish that lived together with me for many years or the chicken I hand-reared Or I am not certain if it is some hazy lost love or a friend I did not have..

But I know this poem. It is mine. I enjoyed it. It could be yours also..I want you to meet Pablo..Please don’t forget to read the postscript later.

My dog has died-Pablo Neruda

My dog has died.
I buried him in the garden
next to a rusted old machine.

Some day I’ll join him right there,
but now he’s gone with his shaggy coat,
his bad manners and his cold nose,
and I, the materialist, who never believed
in any promised heaven in the sky
for any human being,
I believe in a heaven I’ll never enter.
Yes, I believe in a heaven for all dogdom
where my dog waits for my arrival
waving his fan-like tail in friendship.

Ai, I’ll not speak of sadness here on earth,
of having lost a companion
who was never servile.
His friendship for me, like that of a porcupine
withholding its authority,
was the friendship of a star, aloof,
with no more intimacy than was called for,
with no exaggerations:
he never climbed all over my clothes
filling me full of his hair or his mange,
he never rubbed up against my knee
like other dogs obsessed with sex.

No, my dog used to gaze at me,
paying me the attention I need,
the attention required
to make a vain person like me understand
that, being a dog, he was wasting time,
but, with those eyes so much purer than mine,
he’d keep on gazing at me
with a look that reserved for me alone
all his sweet and shaggy life,
always near me, never troubling me,
and asking nothing.

Ai, how many times have I envied his tail
as we walked together on the shores of the sea
in the lonely winter of Isla Negra
where the wintering birds filled the sky
and my hairy dog was jumping about
full of the voltage of the sea’s movement:
my wandering dog, sniffing away
with his golden tail held high,
face to face with the ocean’s spray.

Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be happy
with only the autonomy
of their shameless spirit.

There are no good-byes for my dog who has died,
and we don’t now and never did lie to each other.

So now he’s gone and I buried him,
and that’s all there is to it.

Translated, from the Spanish, by Alfred Yankauer

Pablo Neruda

ps: The poem was introduced from a blog posting of a politician. Ravikumar is a Dalit politician and elected representative from India. You can read his blog here. A country which has a politician who appreciates fine poetry from another country is a very healthy sign. Things are not that bad after all with our politics.

Written by Ronin(not the poem, but the blogpost)

Ronin is a Technology Entrepreneur, Parent, Student, avid Reader and a global citizen

Filed under: Arts, Culture, South America, , , ,