Literary Tribute to Neruda by Ximena Gautier Greve

THE  NERUDICIDE                                 

The Tragic Death of Pablo Neruda

Six Threnodies



Over the blue hills of cold seas,
on the delicate petals of breezes and stones
anguish and dawn are singing.
They approach like coloured red clouds
 as flights of the planets 's vastness
that slip noisily, asking no approval.

Men and women who were the new blood,
are approaching the gates of their journeys
with hearts shrunk under so much load,
red hearts which are still waiting.
Watching fall the darkness that are also reds
protecting the grass by the roadside,
linking water and sun in their consciences
with a laden soul,
a laden soul

Still overexcited the chests rise up
and in spite of all terrors,
and commitment of Silence with Cowardice
the goldfinches warbles and cries the cormorants
and no one can silence them never again !

Because Chile has an appointment with Truth
at this precise crossroad of all the paths:

Here and now we did appoint, comrades,
without even knowing
without even knowing it,
because Fate puts men face to face
with their past and present actions and decisions
in front of History and any possible future.

Long ago,
sinister conspirators’ bend fell upon us.
Long time ago we straightened
and unmask the vile felons,
caught with daggers yellow crime
of most abject hatred.

But this is the bitter and sad story
about the death of the most beloved poet,
the history about the end of consecrated poetry.   


It was four in the morning.
on poet's small transistor radio
a shocked voice broadcasts from Argentina
the imminence of Pinochet's coup d'état :
In Valparaiso, the Navy rose in revolt
« Felony! » - shrieked the big white albatross
opening its immaculate and perfect large wings,
while entering without fear nor regret
into the circle of bullets that riddled him,
opening the door of desperate hope
of that fatal spring,
that spring fatal.

But further on,
afar from Santiago and bombs
falling like the tears
of the times that would come,
in villages and the deep green fields 
going by Black Island's immortal breeze
the great poet of open worlds heard
the great poet of open worlds heard
the very last words of his friend ,
falling under fusillade,
as fall oak trees under fire.
While Chilean flag in blazes.

I do not sing neither present nor the past
I am building only the angry future
That is why I call you:
brother, sister, children,
because I am calling our Motherland,
the one which they left as dead
whilst we were just healing our wounds
after the massacre.

So, rest assured and know it well,
the ideas do not die, and future
will be human, but not bestial !

So, know it you all and never forget
we are the salt and the water of this world
that they can not kill
because we have not end …


Universal People's Poet,
your powerful consciences has been usurped.
Father of Chile,
son of wind and waves,
immense friend of the mighty rivers.
You, the memory of the word’s great soul
has been turned into an abject trademark,
reduced to shameful tourist attraction.

Looking the sombre sea darkness,
knowing what was coming,
even the air becomes sinister.
Just a blanket over shoulders,
he got up to take some steps amongst
the figureheads and bottles of his fantasy,
figureheads and bottles of dreams.

Sometimes ocean claims harder
questions that the night asks.
Retired, back in his jaspers beach,
bard is resting.
His disease wants go away
over the crystals reflection blue - green
heaped on unfinished shelves,
piled up in natatory geographies,
and the big seashells of deep sounds
radiant sunrise as red iridescent nacre
of the Indian Ocean.

Isolated, stranded
in front of the beach and chaos.
Between the ocean echoes
and the hungry seagulls,
he hears his little battery radio
bomb after bomb dropping over Santiago. 

And each bomb is
a wall less at the Moneda,
a comrade murdered in the houses
a loyal policemen in the police stations,
a democratic soldier in the regiments.
And in Valparaiso, in the hold of ships,
the loyal sailors are already tortured,
and in every street of every city of Chile
roll the trucks loaded with lost blood.

Neruda knows he is condemned,
because each bomb and each bullet of that sunrise,
are destined to kill the New Man,
the best of Manhood,
destroying it conscience,
destroying  their consciences.


Radio broadcasts, man listens.
Silent, thinks:
the arid misery of hot boot-torture-device.
Our mineral desert. Our alienated wealth.

Blue voice, the pen of people’s bard
is already loaded of verses
for this new battle,
not a simply battle but a war,
the war against fascism that restarts again.

And in that Chilean dawn,
the bloody spring raises
the red Spanish hopelessness,
the spectrum of daring International Brigades.
And in the front line of all fronts,
the irreducible sign of death.

At his Black Island house, the poet is besieged:
before sea-stars and fisherman's coves
a ship aimed towards the beach,
pointing her weapons to the high dunes
that hide the frenzy of crickets,
and doves painful cooing, rutting at pines. 

And Neruda, who already knows fascism,
who called long ago the world to see
the Spanish blood flowing through the streets,
will see now the Chilean one emptied
over the bridges and pavements of Santiago.

Brush of mourning soul, Picasso draws
the terror on chiaroscuro spectrum :
Guernica, livid white and grey
and black till the end of times,
but fall the bombs over Santiago
and no one draws,
but few photographers dying.

Neruda, angry poem against Crime
with Cuban negro Gillén, prophet
of "yambé" loud and wild,
and Grenadian Garcia Lorca,
red bright toro passion and pen…   

Under the air glow advances
the bloody horn of fascism, to destroy
the collective creation of her people.

And the conviction of the immense tragedy
dilated sight and anguish,
because Chile is mortally wounded,
installed are chaos and crime...

And civilization destroyed, buried,
already buried once in Spain,
falls in Chile amongst pale darkness.


From clouds, perched over the rainbow,
the red bird listens superb thunders
climbing up rocks
Knows he leaves the peaceful bay,
where he seemed to await the end of tiredness,
as the end of an enormous journey,
of so long struggle kept in poetry.

Suddenly, soldiers invade Black Island.
Shouting, running, hurting.
Force all doors open in the quiet house...
Through the window of oceanic smell
blackened faces, shoe grease and mud, burst in.

Threatening smeared frowns
of terrifying half-breed soldiers ;
like black clumsy battle boots
their snout open to non sense.

They run vociferating between
the deadpan ship figureheads,
who sailing through the perfect air
they reconstruct poet's journeys.

Crazed they curse and get lost
between fabulous wooden horses
whinnying in living-room,
ready for ride, anxious for a gallop
in runaway poetry landscapes.

The infamous gale actors stumble
in the treasures of the poet's art collection;
run up and down by the rooms,
contaminates the art with evil ;
intimidate servants, the cook, the gardener,
his sister Laura, his assistant Manuel.

Before the great poet, a felon command shouts:
— « Where are hidden Communists? »
— « Where weapons, bombs, daggers? »
Strafed reason and love, justice has fallen.
Vociferation replaces thinking.
Vociferation in the blue nest.
Vociferation on the radio.
Military marches and howls
will be the only language
that Chile will hear while falling,
exhausted under dictatorship.

The nest of valleys and hills of  the poets,
who was the cradle of telluric song,
never more shall hear the swallow's twitter
nor the whistle of blackbirds
over the lapidary waves
lapidary quartz, jade and foam...


In camouflage battledress and gear war,
forty myrmidons besiege the poet.
Soldiers with tarred faces
perform the horrible masquerade,
But they are not imperial G.I’s
but Chileans of shameful obedience
hiding behind the turbid mask
of the opprobrium :  thick dark-green paint,
mud of dishonour, black plaster.
— « Why do I disfigure my face ? »
asks the innocence in soldier’s scowl...

The Insigne murmurs : his voice
is a drop of water at the cascade,
a dandelion suspended in midair
--“Man, there are no communists here!...
There are only beloved beings”
Command howls, monstrously.
His humanity has left him.
The little female dog of Neruda
barks to the hireling army
But the poet is the Man:
velvet, vibrant string.

The sky of Black Island pales.

In which nightmare, Motherland,
have you dropped these monsters?
Far removed from you,
I remind the sway of swans going
from wetland to the river;
the hot seasons of love
in the tasks of threshing;
the snowflakes tied to summits,  
as weddings’ white lilies, drinking
at the sources of the sonnet's spring water.

In the mud you hide, soldier,
when committing the ultimate crime,
oppressing the albatross you are:
Neruda, the soul of the planet,
the poet, the feather, the idea,
the peace, the beauteous thought
whose lyre intimidates the tyrants.

And his poetry, who sailed
sublime on the sky’s lakes,
as the emerald is set in dark forests,
enters into the cyclone.

Neruda lives, highly perilous for fascism,
tyrannies of assassins and they know it.

In spite of cancer,  poet keeps stable.
His immense spiritual force
will overthrow military junta,
the C.I.A., Chilean Army and Navy

In radio waves thunders Crime.
Don’t you hear it?
— « The only good communist
is a dead communist ! » —
curses Pinochet on television.

Neruda is still alive, highly perilous for fascism,
tyrannies of assassins and they know it.

Like all his comrades, Neruda,
militant poet, Chilean communist,
is doomed to extermination.

The houses of Poet were raided:
at Valparaiso, « The Sebastiana » plundered.
In Santiago, «The Chascona» at Saint Christophe Hill
is destroyed and pillaged :
— « Damned! Where is Neruda! »
— « Neruda is wanted ! » —
They raid the friend’s homes.
The artists of social Utopia were kidnapped,
tortured to death, disappeared. Persecution reigns.

Neruda is still alive, highly perilous for fascism,
tyrannies of assassins and they know it.

The military detachment ransacks Nerudian domains :
the tiny tea gardens and unusual suites,
patios and inconceivable balconies.
They raze everything :
amazing memories, unimaginable treasures
brought from poet’s journeys.
Destroy crystals, porcelains, magic furnitures,
ripped and tore all ancient books, jewal books.
Pillage. War to art and life.

Neruda is still alive, highly perilous for fascism,
tyrannies of assassins and they know it.

On pavements at Santiago streets,
soldiers set fire to books.
Human knowledge burns and flames lift
in pyres with the sacred shape of pyramids.
Witty scrutiny* of benighted
high bonfires for fanatics,
stupidity and plain ignorance.

Fire licks the air, scorches the beloved pages.
Without haste will be in ashes.
Proust, the Commune of Paris,
Saint-Exupery, Cubist painters,
The smoke of immortal ideas,
sketch out the reign of Terror over Santiago.

Neruda is still alive, highly perilous for fascism,
tyrannies of assassins and they know it.

*Cervantes Don Quixote Chap. 6: Burning of cavalry books. Episode of witty scrutiny.  
prevent scornful derision.