Email Writer
(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

It is not often you hold in your hands the works of a poet of this caliber. Malibu Arts Journal had the privilege of reviewing Neruda in 2008 with the Copper Canyon Press release of The Hands Of Day, with translation by the Neruda guru William O’Daly. It is the Journal’s distinct pleasure to once again review the world renowned poet Pablo Neruda in his book-length poem Fin de mundo, or World's End. William O’Daly’s eighth and final translation of Neruda’s late and posthumous work, he writes in his Translator’s Acknowledgements, “has its roots as far back as 1976, and in certain ways earlier than that.” The fastidious level of work O’Daly put into Fin de Mundo is obvious. The work is in its original form on the left hand side of the page, and on the right, the English translation.

Neruda was always known as the people’s poet, venerated throughout Latin America and later in the States, as one of the all-time greatest poets. He begins World's End with “What a ceaseless century!” then works his way into “When the Bomb dropped / (people, insects, incinerated fish) / we thought to leave with a hobo’s bundle / for a change of heavenly body and race. . .” and soon we find ourselves in the middle of an open air love affair, of “open and sudden sex” – a Neruda hallmark, to speak so fluently of sex, and passionately. We read on to find ourselves in a “Metamorphosis,” where “Everything began on Sunday / which instead of feeling golden / repented its joy. . .”

This one-time candidate for the Chilean Presidency, Senator and Nobel Laureate, also exiled into Mexico, is internationally acclaimed in the literary world. Yet the poet never forgot those who worked with their hands, always aware of the privilege he had to write. Neruda then takes us into the darkness of the century in which he lived, the one now dubbed by sociologists as the Century of Genocide. Neruda digs deep into his once very stern political beliefs in The Enemy where he so eloquently writes:

The Enemy

Today an enemy came to see me
this is a man locked
in his truth, in his castle
as in an iron box,
with his own breath
and his singular swords
that he suckled as punishment.

I saw the years in his face:
in his eyes of weary water,
in the lines of loneliness
that climbed to his temples
slowly, from his pride.

We spoke in the clarity
of a swarming noon
the wind scattering sunlight
and sunlight battling in the sky.
But the man merely held out
the new keys, the pathway
to all the doors. I believe,
that within he was silence,
unable to share himself.
He had a stone in his soul :
he was keeping the hardness.

I thought about his paltry truth
buried with no hope whatsoever
of hurting anyone but himself,
and I watched my poor truth
treated poorly inside of me.

There we were, each of us
with his sharp conviction,
and hardened by time:
like two blind men defending
each other’s darknesses.

Even a quick comparison of other translations of Neruda’s work shows the insight O’Daly had, the keen eye for the fluidity of the poet’s words. Some of the lesser translations do not capture the true spirit of this highly praised poet. It is no easy task to translate a poem into another language. The words, incites and intuitiveness that come with the language can be lost in the conversion. O’Daly’s delicate handling of the lines, phrases and shaping of the poem let the rhythm of the original work present itself as the true intent of Neruda, the master salonnière for the people.

Fin de mundo, or World's End, by Pablo Neruda is available from Copper Canyon Press for $15.

For more information see

Author Bio
Kriss Perras
Author: Kriss PerrasWebsite: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Publisher & Editor
Kriss Perras owns Ruptured Media where she publishes Malibu Arts Journal. Ruptured Media is also a story development company. Kriss has been tenacious and fought authority from the very start of her career in journalism. Kriss' first story as a journalist was for her college newspaper covering George W. Bush and Steve Forbes in the Iowa Caucuses during the 2000 election. She showed up at the hotel where Bush was to speak with her editor's letter of assignment in hand. She credentialed at the press desk like every other press person. She had questions in hand she had prepared to ask the Presidential candidate. She walked into the speaking room to find the press was roped off from the candidate. Being new to election coverage, and journalism, she was disappointed. She stood next to a seasoned AP photographer on the press platform. She asked the AP photographer if she could get out from behind the ropes and ask Bush her questions. The AP photographer said, "Well, you can try." So she did. She stepped out from behind the ropes and waited in line behind the people seeking the candidate's autograph. When it was her turn, she introduced herself to Bush as a college journalist and started to ask her questions. Bush said, " Wait, are you a journalist?" She said, "Yes." Bush nodded to his Secret Service team. They promptly came over on each side of her. She was 5'6" tall and weighed 127 pounds. The Secret Service men were well over a foot taller than her and obviously guys who worked out often. They could pick her up with their pinky fingers. They quickly picked her up by her arms, carried her over the ropes and plopped her back down on the press platform as she was still asking Bush her questions. Bush to his credit said, "Please give her one of my books. The answers to her questions are in my book." So she had to read his entire book, but she indeed found the answers to her questions. She also drew political cartoons for her college newspaper and still does today. Her next big break came in 2002, still as a student, with an interview with former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brezinski. Kriss went on in 2006 to found PCH Press, Malibu's daily newspaper. With PCH Press, she had extensive coverage of the battle against LNG and the fight against the placement of an LNG port being placed off the coast of Malibu and Oxnard, among other local news. She has covered Olara Otunnu, former United Nations Undersecretary General and Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict when he spoke in Los Angeles in 2006. She covered Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman when she spoke in Los Angeles in 2006. She has interviewed Progressive David Swanson and numerous Malibu Mayors. In 2007, She founded Malibu Arts Journal magazine. Kriss built Malibu Arts Journal from the ground up. She has taken the magazine from an unknown dot com to a respected title. She earned the magazine digital distribution through Magzter and the iTunes App Store where it now enjoys broad based readership across the globe. She is a member of the national honor society Who's Who In American Universities And Colleges. Her photogrpahy has aired on CMTV channel 14 Spokane, Washington. *Photo Copyright 2017: Alan Weissman
Other Articles By This Author