Pablo Neruda

Ode To Broken Things

Things get broken at home like they were pushed by an invisible, deliberate smasher. It's not my hands or yours It wasn't the girls with their hard fingernails or the motion of the planet. It wasn't anything or anybody It wasn't the wind It wasn't the orange-colored noontime Or night over the earth It wasn't even the nose or the elbow Or the hips getting bigger or the ankle or the air. The plate broke, the lamp fell All the flower pots tumbled over one by one. That pot which overflowed with scarlet in the middle of October, it got tired from all the violets and another empty one rolled round and round and round all through winter until it was only the powder of a flowerpot, a broken memory, shining dust. And that clock whose sound was the voice of our lives, the secret thread of our weeks, which released one by one, so many hours for honey and silence for so many births and jobs, that clock also fell and its delicate blue guts vibrated among the broken glass its wide heart unsprung. Life goes on grinding up glass, wearing out clothes making fragments breaking down forms and what lasts through time is like an island on a ship in the sea, perishable surrounded by dangerous fragility by merciless waters and threats. Let's put all our treasures together -- the clocks, plates, cups cracked by the cold -- into a sack and carry them to the sea and let our possessions sink into one alarming breaker that sounds like a river. May whatever breaks be reconstructed by the sea with the long labor of its tides. So many useless things which nobody broke but which got broken anyway.

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