"I have no never again. I have no always."

My favorite poet is Pablo Neruda, which is one of the only reasons I wish I had learned Spanish instead of Italian. I didn't use to care so much that I had to read only the translations of his poems, but if there's one thing I've learned in my Italian literature class, it's that a translation NEVER does something justice. The sad thing is, translations are the only thing those of us who can't understand have. The good news, sometimes, when the poem is absolutely beautiful or brilliant, it's enough.
So here's a translation of my favorite poem. In the spirit of Valentine's day it's a love poem, and completely outside of that spirit, it is neither mushy nor sappy and is about so much more than just "love."


I have no never again. I have no always.
In the sand victory abandoned its footprints.
I am a poor man willing to love his fellow man.
I don't know who you are. I love you.
I don't give away thorns and I don't sell them.

Perhaps someone will know that I didn't weave bloody crowns,
That I fought against mockery, and that with truth I filled the high tide of my soul,
I repaid vileness with doves.
I have no never because I was, I am, I will be different.
And in the name of my ever-changing love I proclaim purity.

Death is only the stone of oblivion.
I love you. On your lips I kiss happiness itself.
Let's gather firewood. We'll light a fire on the mountaintop.

-Pablo Neruda

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