Poetry: The Sea, the Stars, the Bells with Pablo Neruda

The sea, the sand and the sun. Photo by Keri Douglas

The sea, the sand and the sun. Photo by Keri Douglas

Why poetry? Words sewn together to create a tapestry of sounds, music that enthralls the spirit.

Pablo Neruda, the Chilean poet who won the Nobel Prize for Literature, charms the soul with a passion for nature, love and the sensual teasing of the ear. Read silently, read out loud and enjoy.

I came here to count the bells
that live upon the surface of the sea,
that sound over the sea,
within the sea.
So, here I live.


If each day falls
inside each night,
there exists a well
where clarity is imprisoned.

We need to sit on the rim
of the well of darkness
and fish for fallen light 
with patience.

Me vine aquí a contar las campanas
que viven en el mar,
que suenan en el mar,
dentro del mar.
Por eso vivo aquí.


Si cade día cae
dentro de cade noche
hay un pozo
donde la claridad está encerrada.

Hay que sentarse a la orilla
del pozo de la sombra
y pescar de la sombra
y pescar luz caída 
con paciencia.

Over there, over there, the bell ringer pointed:
and in that direction the crowd behld
the usual thing, the blue evening of Chile,
a pulsing of pale stars.

More people came, those who had never seen 
never until now that which holds up
the sky every day and every night,
and more, many more, so many who were amazed,
and they all were asking, where, where?

And the bell ringer, with grave patience,
was pointing to the starry night,
a night the same as all other nights.

Las Estrellas

De allí, de allí, señaló el campanero:
y hacia ese lado vio la muchedumbre
lo de siempre, el nocturno azul de Chile,
una palpitación de estrellas pálidas.

Vinieron más, los que no habían visto
nunca hasta ahora lo que sostenía
el cielo cada día y cada noche,
y otros más, otros más, más sorprendidos,
y todos preguntaban, dónde, adónde?

Y el campanero, con grave paciencia,
indicaba la noche con estrellas,
la misma noche de todas las noches.

Neruda, The Sea and the Bells translated by William O’Daly, 1988


5 thoughts on “Poetry: The Sea, the Stars, the Bells with Pablo Neruda

  1. Keri, I have always loved the poems of Pablo Neruda, many of which have been translated into Greek. Your photograph illustrating this post is gorgeous! Thanks so much!


  2. Beautiful poetry and stunning photograph. There’s always a surprise in your pictures. I didn’t see the white dog at first.

  3. Beautiful post and poems, Keri! Magical photo! I love sunrises and sunsets! I love Pablo Neruda! I often read his poems…now in his native language and then in English, so as to make up for my incompetence to fully understand. My sight is not the best, even with glasses. So, when Annina pointed out about the white dog, I had to look hard to see it. Thank you for sharing amazing things and streching me out of my comfort zone!
    Blessings and Light!

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