Tonight

Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche …
Tonight I can write of my sadness, but how? …

Tonight I can write of my sadness, but how?
 
In commonplace cliché, like
‘My heart is aching/breaking/longing’.
 
The night wind howls around the heavens.
 
Tonight I can write of my sadness, but how?
Remembering the moments when she loved me.
 
On nights like these we lay together.
Under infinite heavens we’d kiss.
 
At times I loved her too, how could I not?
Those night-dark, constant eyes.
 
Tonight I can write of my sadness, but how?
Realising she is lost to me. Realising she is gone.
 
The night presses in on me.
My verse distils a few drops onto my soul.
 
Why care now that my love fell short?
Our stars shine on, but she is gone.
 
That is all. Far off there is music. Far off.
My soul stirs – she should be here!
 
As if to call her, I turn my head.
I silently wish, but she is gone.
 
The moonlight, the night, the trees, the stars.
They’re all the same, but we are not.
 
I no longer love her, I realise, but, God, how I did.
My voice sought out the wind to touch her ear.
 
She loves once more, as she did before.
With her voice, her air, her limbs, her infinite eyes.
 
I say I no longer love her, but perhaps I do.
The explosion is brief, the half-life too long.
 
Remembering nights like these when we lay together,
my poor soul thirsts, it is still scabbed.
 
But this will be the last time I will pick at my scab,
and the last time I’ll write of you.
 
© Susan Walton 2017
 
This poem was written on a course at Tŷ Newydd that covered a range of ways in which existing works of art can give rise to new poems. This adaptation was based on an existing, literal translation into English of the original Spanish poem by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (1904–73), supplied by the course tutors. The original is from a collection called Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperadacan published in 1924, and can be read in the original Spanish here.

2 thoughts on “Tonight”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *