With Apologies to Pablo Neruda

Tus Manos (Part I)                          Your Image (Part I)

Cuando tus manos salen,               Your image curls within my being,
armor, hacia las mias,                    love, unyielding tenant,
que me traen volando?                   will you test my volition?
Por que se detuvieron                     Why is there denial
en mi boca, de pronto,                    as if my time is unhurried,
por que las reconozco                    why is this revealing
como si entonces, antes,                how essential you are to me,
las hubriero tocado,                       like a harbor to the sails,
como si antes de ser                       how is this so hard
hubieran recorrido                        harboring releasing
mi frente mi centura?                    my feelings, my confession?


This was the most difficult prompt I’ve ever responded to! Day 4 of NaPoWriMo: choose a poem in another language; do not look at the translation. Also choose a photograph (this is a photo of Pablo Picasso’s Meditation). Now, “translate” the foreign language poem into a poem applicable to your photo. Use the “look and the feel” of the words in the original poem but do not look up a translation of the words. I have no idea what Neruda’s original poem says…….so as the title of my post says, “With Apologies to Pablo Neruda”. His words are on the left; mine are on the right. Also posting for dVerse Open Link Night.

36 thoughts on “With Apologies to Pablo Neruda

  1. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) April 5, 2018 / 4:01 pm

    I remember once we were given a poem in Romanian to do the same…. mine turned more silly if I remember correctly… Loved your way of finding a meaning in the words,,,

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian April 5, 2018 / 4:04 pm

      Thanks so much, Bjorn. It realy was a challenge…and when there were repeated words to have them the same in the English…and words that were almost the same, as in forms of the words in the foreign language and then in English too.
      I’ve been remiss in my dVerse readings since I did Poetics here….once back in Boston I shall jump in full force again. Thanks for your patience.


  2. sanaarizvi April 5, 2018 / 4:02 pm

    This is so beautifully done, Lillian!💖

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sarah Russell April 5, 2018 / 4:04 pm

    Not sure what Neruda said, but you captured the essence of much of his poetry. Love the lines “…how essential you are to me / like a harbor to the sails…”. Just beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 5, 2018 / 5:39 pm

      Thank you, Sarah. I have no idea what his words say either. We almost went to see his house in Valparaiso some months ago, but ran out of time before we had to board our cruise ship. He is beloved in Valparaiso and Chile.


    • lillian April 5, 2018 / 5:40 pm

      Thank you so very much. Your kind words are truly appreciated!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Charmed Chaos April 5, 2018 / 5:27 pm

    Nice effort Lillian! it’s beautiful. Mine was on the prompt as well. It was hard, next to impossible for me to decipher…

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 5, 2018 / 5:38 pm

      Many thanks. Well, I’m sure mine doesn’t decipher Neruda’s language…I just made it up according to what Neruda’s words and sounds looked and felt like. I doubt this is anywhere near what his actual words mean in his language. And the prompt was actually to make up a translation….it was never to actually translate the words themselves but rather to look at the words, the sound of them and then make a “pretend” translation if you will, that seems to fit the poetry, fits the photo we chose, and is an original poem. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Charmed Chaos April 5, 2018 / 6:04 pm

        Yes, same here for me- I saw the translation after and I was WAY off!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Karen April 5, 2018 / 6:10 pm

    My attempt to translate Neruda (We saw all 3 of his houses, when we were in Chile.)

    Your Hands
    When your hands appear, love, toward mine
    Why do they make me fly?
    Why do they stop in my mouth, suddenly?
    Why do I recognize them as if then, before, I would have touched them?
    As if, before they would have traveled on my forehead, my waist?

    (This translation was made somewhat harder because you made some spelling errors and were not able to type with accent marks so it’s iffy. But I’m sure about the title!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 5, 2018 / 6:28 pm

      Oh….thought I’d checked all the spelling. Did not put in accent marks. Having no Spanish, and in the spirit of the prompt, had fun putting content to what I thought the words looked and sounded like. We were supposed to look at the poem (Neruda’s in this case), examine the look and feel and sound of the words, and then make an original poem about the photo we chose, using the foreign language poem as its “base.” So kind of “make believe” translate it! 🙂 It is interesting to see what it really means! 🙂


  6. Vivian Zems April 5, 2018 / 7:50 pm

    You dis well here. I took one look and thought, ‘no way!’ I’m sure you’d be forgiven by Pablo 🙂 Love your words…good job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 6, 2018 / 6:17 am

      Hah — thanks, Vivian. It was fun to be a make-believe translator! If a prompt actually asked us to really translate a foreign language, I’d pass on that for sure. About the only foreign language I know is Frence, with just a few phrases like “please pass the butter” and “where is the library?” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Vivian Zems April 6, 2018 / 5:32 pm

        You were very clever with it 🙂


  7. Grace April 5, 2018 / 8:07 pm

    Its difficult to respond to another language without understanding it ~ Love your interpretation anyway Lillian ~ Neruda always inspires, I say ~

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 6, 2018 / 6:19 am

      It was an interesting prompt. I first wrote down the words that were repeated in the poem; then the ones that were “almost repeated” — and remembered that he wrote a lot about love. Glad you enjoyed my “pretend translation!”


    • lillian April 6, 2018 / 6:20 am

      Ah thank you, Walter. Interesting to read the real translation. It was a challenging prompt…and I did choose the painting first and then did the asked for “pretend, make-believe translation” trying to get the “feel” for the look and sound of his words.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Latoshia Jessup April 5, 2018 / 9:53 pm

    This is brilliant!!! You did such a great job on today’s prompt. I am about to get mine written up and posted as well, but I had to stop and leave my comment. This is so wonderful!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 6, 2018 / 6:21 am

      Thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed. It was really intersting to be a “pretend translator!” 🙂


  9. peterfrankiswrites April 6, 2018 / 4:08 am

    What an interesting challenge – which you’ve danced over so well. Looking at the Spanish I’m struck by how easy being a poet in Spanish must be – all those ‘o’s and ‘a’s – ‘de pronto’, ‘volando’, ‘tocando’ – Bravo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 6, 2018 / 6:22 am

      Oh my….and thank you for that “o” word at the end of your comment! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed.


  10. kim881 April 6, 2018 / 5:02 am

    beautifully done, Lill! Where did you see this prompt? It’s one I’d like to have a go at.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 6, 2018 / 6:26 am

      Thanks, Kim. I always go to http://napowrimo.net for the April prompts. The link in my explanation will also take you right to day 5. The prompt goes up at midnight each day so there’s a new one up for day 6.
      We leave Bermuda today — so I’m getting outside one last time and finishing packing. Reading will happen tonight and over the weekend back in Boston. Apologies for the late reading.

      Liked by 1 person

      • kim881 April 6, 2018 / 12:33 pm

        Thank you, Lill. I’ll go on over to have a look tomorrow morning. I hope you have a comfortable journey home.


  11. annell4 April 6, 2018 / 10:41 am

    Wow! You did a fantastic job!!!


  12. dornahainds April 6, 2018 / 1:05 pm

    Excellent interpretation. 😎🥀😎🥀😎🥀😎🥀😎🥀


  13. memadtwo April 7, 2018 / 9:25 am

    You’ve married the words and image well. (K)


  14. Mary (tqhousecat) April 7, 2018 / 9:33 pm

    You did a great job. I made no sense of the prompt. Took my own photo and wrote a poem about it in English!


  15. Nan Mykel April 8, 2018 / 12:36 am

    Good job. My favorite line is ” like a harbor to the sails,” Lovely. Nan


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