I Take It Back

489069_400

This will be my third and last post on Chilean poet Nicanor Parra, a former mathematician who is famous as Latin America’s straight-talking alternative to flowery verse.  Parra recently turned 100 and is still doing well, an impressive feat for any being.

After most of his recitals he would say “I take back everything I’ve said.” Below is a poem that summarizes the poet’s (anti) attitude.

 

I Take Back Everything I’ve Said

Before I go

I’m supposed to get a last wish:

Generous reader

burn this book

It’s not at all what I wanted to say

Though it was written in blood

It’s not what I wanted to say.

No lot could be sadder than mine

I was defeated by my own shadow:

My words took vengeance on me.

Forgive me, reader, good reader

If I cannot leave you

With a warm embrace, I leave you

With a forced and sad smile.

Maybe that’s all I am

But listen to my last word:

I take back everything I’ve said.

With the greatest bitterness in the world

I take back everything I’ve said.

— translated by Miller Williams

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s