Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) was a titan of Latin American poetry. He commands great influence not only on the Spanish speaking countries but throughout the world of poetry. This poem comes from his collection titled “The Captain’s Verses”.
Translated from the Spanish by Donald D. Walsh.
Ah you don’t want to,
you don’t want
to go to the market with worn-out shoes
and come back with the same old dress.
My love, we are not fond,
as the rich would like us to be,
We shall extract it like an evil tooth
that up to now has bitten the heart of man.
But I don’t want
you to fear it.
If through my fault it comes to your
if poverty drives away
your golden shoes,
let it not drive away your laughter which is
my life’s bread.
If you can’t pay the rent
go off to work with a proud step,
and remember, my love, that I am
and together we are the greatest wealth
that was ever gathered upon the earth.