When You Chose Me

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I found this beautiful poem just as it was about to be retired from the Poetry Daily archive. I found it just when I needed it. And because I have always been better at saying to the world what I cannot say quietly, I share it with you.

When you chose me

By Pedro Salinas
translated from the Spanish by Willis Barnstone

When you chose me—
love chose—
I came out of the great anonymity
from everyone, from nothing.
Till then
I was never taller than
the sierras of the world.
I never sank deeper
than the maximum
depths marked out
on maritime charts.
And my gladness was
sad, as small watches are
without a wrist to fasten to,
without a winding crown, stopped.
But when you said: you,
to me, yes, to me singled out,
I was higher than stars,
deeper than coral.
And my joy
began to spin, caught
in your being, in your pulse.
You gave me possession of myself
when you gave your self to me.
I lived. I live. How long?
I know you will back out.
When you go
I will go back to a deaf
world that does not distinguish
gram or drop
in weight or water.
I’ll be one more—like the rest—
when you are lost.
I’ll lose my name,
my age, my gestures, all
lost in me, from me.
Gone back to the immense bone heap
of those who have not died
and now have nothing
to die for in life.

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3 responses »

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Sharanya. It comes at a time when I need it too.

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