Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Ode to the Happy Day

Ode to the Happy Day 
by Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)

This time let me
be happy.
Nothing has happened to anybody,
I am nowhere special,
it happened only
that I am happy
through the four chambers
of my heart, walking,
sleeping or writing.
What can I do? I am
I am more uncountable
than the meadow
I feel my skin like a wrinkled tree
and the water below,
the birds above,
the sea like a ring
around my waist,
the Earth is made of bread and stone,
the air sings like a guitar.

You, by my side in the sand,
you are the sand,
you sing and you are a song,
today the world
is my soul:
song and sand,
today the world
is your mouth:
Let me
be happy
on your mouth, on the sand,
be happy just because, because I am breathing
and because you are breathing,
be happy, because I am touching
your knee
and it is as though I am touching
the blue skin of heaven
and its pristine air.

Today let me
and me only
be happy,
with everybody or without them,
be happy,
with the grass
and the sand,
be happy
with the air and the earth,
be happy,
with you, with your mouth,
be happy.


Susan said...

Thanks for posting this one, Joe. Joyous and positive.

Anonymous said...

I am puzzled. Did Neruda write this in English? If not, would it not be more culturally sensitive to give the original and also provide an English translation? Just asking, Roderick

Joe said...

Roderick this was sent to me by a friend, and I dint' even think about it being a translation, because if I'm not mistaken, Neruda wrote in both Spanish and English or at least translated some of his poems in English. This one, however, seems to come from All the Odes: A Bilingual Edition which was edited by Ilan Stavans, the distinguished translator and scholar of Latin American literature. However, the book was translated by an assortment of accomplished translators that includes Philip Levine, Paul Muldoon, Mark Strand, and Margaret Sayers Peden. Therefore, i am not sure who the translator is to this poem as I don't have the book. With a little searching, i was able to find the Spanish version fo the poem:

Oda al día feliz
Pablo Neruda

ESTA vez dejadme
ser feliz,
nada ha pasado a nadie,
no estoy en parte alguna,
sucede solamente
que soy feliz
por los cuatro costados
del corazón, andando,
durmiendo o escribiendo.
Qué voy a hacerle, soy
Soy más innumerable
que el pasto
en las praderas,
siento la piel como un árbol rugoso
y el agua abajo,
los pájaros arriba,
el mar como un anillo
en mi cintura,
hecha de pan y piedra la tierra
el aire canta como una guitarra.

Tú a mi lado en la arena
eres arena,
tú cantas y eres canto,
el mundo
es hoy mi alma,
canto y arena,
el mundo
es hoy tu boca,
en tu boca y en la arena
ser feliz,
ser feliz porque si, porque respiro
y porque tú respiras,
ser feliz porque toco
tu rodilla
y es como si tocara
la piel azul del cielo
y su frescura.

Hoy dejadme
a mí solo
ser feliz,
con todos o sin todos,
ser feliz
con el pasto
y la arena,
ser feliz
con el aire y la tierra,
ser feliz,
contigo, con tu boca,
ser feliz.

I wish I knew who translated this into English, but our library does not have the book that it came from and I have no way of looking it up.

Eric said...

Beautiful, immortal Pablo. Impressive too. ;)

Greg said...

Thanks for finding the original! It took a little work.
Sounds beautiful, and I do not know Spanish, but can piece together some words.
And the rhythm is there!