Pablo Neruda Poems >>
The Portrait In The Rock

Oh yes I knew him, I spent years with him,
with his golden and stony substance,
he was a man who was tired -
in Paraguay he left his father and mother,
his sons, his nephews,
his latest in-laws,
his house, his chickens,
and some half-opened books.
They called him to the door.
When he opened it, the police took him,
and they beat him up so much
that he spat blood in France, in Denmark,
in Spain, in Italy, moving about,
and so he died and I stopped seeing his face,
stopped hearing his profound silence ;
then once, on a night of storms,
with snow spreading
a smooth cloak on the mountains,
on horseback, there, far off,
I looked and there was my friend -
his face was formed in stone,
his profile defied the wild weather,
in his nose the wind was muffling
the moaning of the persecuted.
There the exile came to ground.
Changed into stone, he lives in his own country.