“I am not part of this crime”

from Neruda’s “Letter to Miguel Otero Silva,” translated by Robert Bly

[…] I took life,
and I faced her and kissed her,
and then went through the tunnels of the mines
to see how other men live.
And when I came out, my hands stained with garbage and sadness,
I held my hands up and showed them to the generals,
and said, “I am not part of this crime.”
They started to cough, showed disgust, left off saying hello,
gave up calling me Theocritus, and ended up by insulting me
and assigning the entire police force to arrest me
because I didn’t continue to be occupied exclusively with
      metaphysical subjects.
But I had brought joy over to my side.


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