Poem of the week: Discoverers of Chile by Pablo Neruda

Off the coast of Coronado Island near San Diego, CA.

Discoverers of Chile by Pablo Neruda, translated by Angel Flores


From the north Almagro brought his wrinkled lightning,

and over the territory, amid explosion and twilight

he bent day and night as over a chart.

Shadow of thorns, shadow of thistle and wax

the Spaniard united with his dry figure,

watching the wounded strategies of earth.

Night, snow and sand make the form

of my slim fatherland,

all silence is in its long line,

all foam emerges from its marine beard,

all coal fills it with mysterious kisses.

Like an ember, gold burns in its fingers

and silver illumines, like a green moon,

its hardened shadow of grave planet.

The Spaniard seated near the rose, one day,

near the oil, near the wine, near the old sky,

could not conceive this spot of angry stone

rising from the dung of the marine eagle.


“Discoverers of Chile” by Pablo Neruda. As published in Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, Volume LXIX, No. 1 (Chicago, October 1946).

Published by cpoetrymsu

The Center for Poetry opened in the fall of 2007 to encourage the reading, writing, and discussion of poetry and to create an awareness of the place and power of poetry in our everyday lives. We think about this in a number of ways, including through readings, shows, community outreach, and workshops. We are at work building a poetry community at MSU and in the greater Lansing area. Contact: cpoetry@msu.edu (517) 884-1932 http://www.poetry.rcah.msu.edu

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