ODE TO VALPARAISO by Pablo Neruda

Valparaiso,
What nonsense
You are
What a crazy
Insane Port.
Your mounded head
Disheveled
You never finish combing your hair
Life has always surprised you
Death woke you
In your undershirt and long underwear
Fringed with color
Naked
With a name tattooed on the stomach
And with a cap
The earthquake grabbed you
You ran
Mad
Broke your fingernails
It moved
The waters and the stones
Sidewalks
And seas
The night,
You would sleep
In the ground
Tired
From your sailing
And the furious earth
Lifted its waves
More stormy
Than a tempest
The dust
Covered you
The eyes
The flames
Burned your shoes
The solid
Houses of bankers
Trembled
Like wounded whales
While above
The houses of the poor
Leapt
Into nothingness
Like captive birds
Testing their wings
Collapse

Quickly
Valparaiso,
Sailor,
You forget
the tears
and you return
to hanging your dwellings
to paint doors
green
Windows
Yellow,
Everything
You transform into a boat
Your are
The patched bow
Of a small
Courageous
Ship
The crowns nest
With foam
Your rope lines that sing
And the light of the ocean
That shakes the masts
And flags
In your indestructible swaying

Dark star
You are
From far away
In the height of the coast
Shining
And soon
You surrender
Your hidden fire
The rocking
Of your deaf alleys
The naturalness
Of your movement
The clarity
Of your seamanship
Here ends this ode

Valparaiso
So small
Like a cloth
Helpless
Hanging
Ragged in a Window
Swaying
In the Wind
of the ocean
Impregnated
With all the pain
Of your ground
Receiving
The dew
Of the sea, the kiss
Of the wild angry sea
That with all of its power
Beat the rocks
It could not
Knock you down
Because on your southern chest
Is tattooed
The struggle
The hope
The solidarity
And the joy
As anchors
Resisting
The waves of the earth.

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