Entierro en el Este- Burial In The East

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Yo trabajo de noche, rodeado de ciudad,

I work at night, surrounded by city,

de pescadores, de alfareros, de difuntos quemados

of fishermen, of potters, of burned dead

con azafrán y frutas, envueltos en muselina escarlata:

with saffron and fruits, wrapped in scarlet muslin cloth:

bajo mi balcón esos muertos terribles

under my balcony these terrible dead

pasan sonando cadenas y flautas de cobre,

pass playing strings and flutes of copper,

estridentes y finas y lúgubres silban

shrill and thin and mournful whistle

entre el color de las pesadas flores envenenadas

between the color of the heavy poisonous flowers

y el grito de los cenicientos danzarines

and the cry of the ashen dancers

y el creciente y monótono de los tamtam

and the crescendo and monotony of the tom tom

y el humo de las maderas que arden y huelen.

and the smoke of the woods that burn and smell. 

 

Porque una vez doblado el camino, junto al turbio río,

Because once bent the path, along the muddy river,

sus corazones, detenidos o  iniciando un mayor movimiento

their hearts, detained or initiating a greater movement

rodarán quemados, con la pierna y el pie hechos fuego,

will roll burned, with the leg and the foot ready to wear fire,

y la trémula ceniza caerá sobre el agua,

and the trembling ash will fall upon the water,

flotará como ramo de flores calcinadas

they will float like charred bouquet of flowers

o como extinto fuego dejado por tan poderosos viajeros

or as an extinguished fire left by such powerful travelers

que hicieron arder algo sobre las negras aguas, y devoraron

that they did burn something on the black waters, and devoured

un aliento desaparecido y un licor extremo.

one breath missing and one last liquor.

– Pablo Neruda from Residencia en la Tierra (1925-1932): Libro 1, Parte II, English translation by Thayne Tuason 2012

Funeral Pyre in India- photograph by radoshi- Flickr

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