May 17, 2010

Can you imprison poetry?

‘While briefly chilled, I want to tell
without vengeance and what’s more with joy
how from my bed in Buenos Aires
the police took me to prison.
It was late, we had just arrived from Chile,
and without saying anything to us
they plundered my friend’s papers,
they offended the house in which I slept,
My wife vented her disdain
but there were orders to be executed
and in a moving car we roved about
the tyrannous black night.
They it was not Peron, it was another,
a new tyrant for Argentina
and by his orders doors opened,
bolt after bolt was unlocked
in order to swallow me, the patios passed,
forty bars and the infirmary,
but still they took me up into a cell,
the most impenetrable and hidden:
only there did they feel protected
from the exhalations of my poetry.’

--- Pablo Neruda

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