Afternoon: XXXIX

November 18, 2006


Hands Series

Anwar Hossain





But I forgot that your hands fed the roots,
watering the tangled roses,
till your fingertips bloomed
full, in a natural peace.

Like pets, your hoe and your sprinkling can
follow you around, biting and licking the earth.
That work is how you let this richness loose,
the carnations fiery freshness.

I wish the love and dignity of bees for your hands,
mixing and spreading their transparent brood
in the earth: they cultivate even my heart,

so that I am like scorched rock
that suddenly sings when you are near, because it drinks
the water you carry from the forest, in your voice.

Pablo Neruda



Atending the Queen


From: 100 Love Sonnets
By Pablo Neruda
Translated by Stephen Tapscott


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