Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181eac537
Medicine and the Arts


Neruda, Pablo

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“Poetry,” translated by Alastair Reid from Selected Poems by Pablo Neruda, published by Jonathan Cape. Used by permission of The Random House Group Ltd.

And it was at that age … Poetry arrived

in search of me. I don't know where

it came from, from winter or a river.

I don't know how or when,

no, they were not voices, they were not

words, nor silence,

but from a street I was summoned,

from the branches of night,

abruptly from the others,

among violent fires

or returning alone,

there I was without a face

and it touched me.

I did not know what to say, my mouth

had no way

with names,

my eyes were blind,

and something started in my soul,

fever or forgotten wings,

and I made my own way,


that fire,

and I wrote the first faint line,

faint, without substance, pure


pure wisdom

of someone who knows nothing,

and suddenly I saw

the heavens


and open,


palpitating plantations,

shadow perforated,


with arrows, fire and flowers,

the winding night, the universe.

And I, infinitesimal being,

drunk with the great starry


likeness, image of


felt myself a pure part

of the abyss,

I wheeled with the stars,

my heart broke loose on the open sky.

© 2010 Association of American Medical Colleges


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