The Well [El Pozo, Il Pozzo] Pablo Neruda

for Ian

The Well

At times you sink, you fall
into your hole of silence,
into your abyss of proud anger,
and you can scarcely
return, still bearing remnants
of what you found
in the depths of your existence.

My love, what do you find
in your closed well?
Seaweed, swamps, rocks?
What do you see with blind eyes,
bitter and wounded?

Darling, you will not find
in the well into which you fall
what I keep for you on the heights:
a bouquet of dewy jasmines,
a kiss deeper than your abyss.

Do not fear me, do not fall
into your rancor again.
Shake off my word that came to wound you
and let it fly through the open window.
It will return to wound me
without your guiding it
since it was laden with a harsh instant
and that instant will be disarmed in my breast.

Smile at me radiant
if my mouth wounds you.
I am not a gentle shepherd
like the ones in fairy tales,
but a good woodsman who shares with you
earth, wind, and mountain thorns.

Love me, you, smile at me,
help me to be good.
Do not wound yourself in me, for it will be useless,
do not wound me because you wound yourself.

Pablo Neruda

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