Ode to a Cluster of Violets
- by Pablo Neruda -
plunged in shadow.
Drops of violet water and raw
sunlight floated up with your scent.
subterranean beauty climbed up from your buds
thrilling my eyes and my life.
One at a time,
flowers that stretched forward silvery
creeping closer to an obscure light
shoot by shoot in the shadows,
till they crowned
the mysterious mass
with an intense weight of
and together formed a single
with a far-off scent and a purple
intimate scent of nature,
you resemble a wave,
or a head of hair,
or the gaze of a ruined water
nymph sunk in the depths.
But up close, in your
fragrance’s blue brazenness,
you exhale the
earth, an earthly flower, an earthen
smell and your
ultraviolet gleam in volcanoes’ faraway
loveliness I sink a weathered face,
a face that
dust has often abused.
You deliver something out
of the soil.
It isn’t simply perfume, nor simply
the perfect cry of your entire color,no: it’s
word sprinkled with dew, a flowering wetness with
Fragile cluster of
starry violets, tiny, mysterious planet
marine phosphorescence, nocturnal bouquet nestled
in green leaves: the truth is there is no blue word
to express you.
Better than any
word is the pulse of your scent.
Things translated by Ken Krabbenhoft,
Bullfinch Press, 1994
There are also a
Pink, Yellow and White wild violets
here in Wales