Pablo Neruda – Lone Gentleman

Here is a beautiful poem from the Nobel Prize winning Chilean bard. Neruda, a committed Socialist, died as the result of an assassination ordered by the fascist dictator, General Pinochet. His poetry lives on while Pinochet’s legacy is one of bloodshed and deception. Ultimately, beautiful verse wins out again.

Lone Gentleman

The gay young men and the love-sick girls,
and the abandoned widows suffering in sleepless delirium,
and the young pregnant wives of thirty hours,
and the raucous cats that cruise my garden in the shadows,
like a necklace of pulsating oysters of sex
surround my lonely residence,
like enemies lined up against my soul,
like conspirators in bedroom clothes
who exchange long deep kisses to order.

The radiant summer leads to lovers
in predictable melancholic regiments,
made of fat and skinny, sad and happy pairings:
under the elegant coconut palms, near the ocean and the moon,
goes an endless movement of trousers and dresses,
a whisper of silk stockings being caressed,
and women’s breasts that sparkle like eyes.

The little employee, after it all,
after the weeks boredom, and novels read by night in bed,
has definitively seduced the girl next door,
and carried her away to a run-down movie house
where the heroes are studs or princes mad with passion,
and strokes her legs covered with soft down
with his moist and ardent hands that smell of cigarettes.

The seducers afternoons and married peoples nights
come together like the sheets and bury me,
and the hours after lunch when the young male students
and the young girl students, and the priests, masturbate,
and the creatures fornicate outright,
and the bees smell of blood, and the flies madly buzz,
and boy and girl cousins play oddly together,
and doctors stare in fury at the young patients husband,
and the morning hours in which the professor, as if to pass the time,
performs his marriage duties, and breakfasts,
and moreover, the adulterers, who love each other truly
on beds as high and deep as ocean liners:
finally, eternally surrounding me
is a gigantic forest breathing and tangled
with gigantic flowers like mouths with teeth
and black roots in the shape of hooves and shoes.

Pablo Neruda

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