To whoever is not listening to the sea

this Friday morning, to whoever is cooped up

in house or office, factory or woman

or street or mine or harsh prison cell:

to him I come, and, without speaking or looking,

I arrive and open the door of his prison,

and a vibration starts up, vague and insistent,

a great fragment of thunder sets in motion

the rumble of the planet and the foam,

the raucous rivers of the ocean flood,

the star vibrates swiftly in its corona,

and the sea is beating, dying and continuing.
So, drawn on by my destiny,

I ceaselessly must listen to and keep

the sea’s lamenting in my awareness,

I must feel the crash of the hard water

and gather it up in a perpetual cup

so that, wherever those in prison may be,

wherever they suffer the autumn’s castigation,

I may be there with an errant wave,

I may move, passing through windows,

and hearing me, eyes will glance upward

saying, “How can I reach the sea?”

And I shall broadcast, saying nothing,

the starry echoes of the wave,

a breaking up of foam and of quicksand,

a rustling of salt withdrawing,

the grey cry of sea-birds on the coast.
So, through me, freedom and the sea

will make their answer to the shuttered heart.

Pablo Neruda


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