Mad Scientess Jane Expat (nanila) wrote,
Mad Scientess Jane Expat

National Poetry Month No. 9: Pablo Neruda- excerpt from Oda al Gato/Ode to the Cat

Pablo Neruda - excerpt from Oda al gato/Ode to the Cat (from Navigations and Returns translated from the original Spanish by many - I have chosen among them to construct a favourite.)

I don't think I need to explain why I love this poem, do I?

El hombre quiere ser pescado y pájaro,
la serpiente quisiera tener alas,
el perro es un león desorientado,
el ingeniero quiere ser poeta,
la mosca estudia para golondrina,
el poeta trata de imitar la mosca,
pero el gato
quiere ser sólo gato
y todo gato es gato
desde bigote a cola,
desde presentimienta a rata viva,
desde la noche hasta sus ojos de oro.
No hay unidad
como él
no tiene
la luna ni la flor
tal contextura:
es una sola cosa
como el sol o el topacio,
y la elástica línea en su contorno
firme y sutil es como
la línea de la proa de una nave.
Sus ojos amarillos
dejaron una sola
para echar las monedas de la noche.

Man wants to be fish or fowl,
the snake wants wings
the dog is a baffled lion,
the engineer wants to be a poet,
the fly studies to be a swift,
the poet tries to imitate the fly,
but the cat
only wants to be a cat
and any cat is a cat
from his whiskers to his tail,
from his anticipation of a rat
to the real thing,
from the night to his golden eyes.

There is no completeness
like his,
the moon and the flower
do not have such scope:
he is just one thing
like the sun or the topaz,
and the elastic line of his contours
is firm and subtle like
the line of a ship's prow.
His yellow eyes
have just one
to coin the gold of night.
Tags: catmother, national poetry month, poetry

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