Saturday, March 02, 2013

From Pablo Neruda's Isla Negra - translated by Alistair Reid

Rangoon, 1927

I came late to Rangoon.
Everything was already there --
a city
of blood,
dreams and gold,
a river that flowed
from the savage jungle
into the stifling city
and its leprous streets,
and a white hotel for whites,
and a golden pagoda for the golden people.
That's what 
went on
and didn't go on.
Rangoon, steps stained
by the spitters
of betel juice.

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