Pablo Neruda
translated by Jodey Bateman

 
Ode to the Lemon

From those lemon flowers
Set free
By the light of the moon
From that
Odor of a love
Frustrated,
Sunken in fragrance,
There came
From the Lemon tree its yellow,
From its planetary system
The lemons came down to the earth.

Tender merchandise!
Our shores filled up with it,
The markets
Of light, of gold
From a tree,
And we open up
The two halves
Of a miracle,
Congealed acid
Which ran
From the hemispheres
Of a star
And the most profound liquor
In nature,
Unchanging, alive,
Indestructible,
Born from the freshness
Of the lemon,
From its fragrant house,
From its acid, secret symmetry.

Inside the lemon the knives
Cut
A small
Cathedral,
The window hidden behind the altars
Opened to the light its glassy acids,
And in drops
Like topazes they were dripped
Onto the altars
By the architecture of freshness.

So when your hand
Squeezes the hemisphere
Of the cut
Lemon onto your plate,
A universe of gold,
You have poured out
One 
Yellow cup
Full of miracles
One of the sweet-smelling nipples
Of the breast of the earth,
A ray of light that became a fruit,
The diminutive fire of a planet.


 
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