Your Laughter by Pablo Neruda

by Catherine Chiu

Deprive me of bread, if you want,
deprive me of air, but
don’t deprive me of your laughter.

Don’t deprive me of the rose,
the stick you thresh the grains with,
the water splashing
swiftly in your joy,
the sudden silver wave
born in you.

My struggle is painful. As I return
with my eyes sometimes tired
from watching
the unchanging earth,
your laughter enters
and raises to heaven
in search of me,
to open all the doors of life.

My loved one, in the darkest hour,
unsheath your laughter,
and if suddenly
you see my blood staining
the cobblestones,
laugh, for your laughter
will be for my hands
like an unsullied sword.

Near the sea in autumn,
your laughter must rise
in its cascade of foam,
and in spring, my love,
I want your laughter
to be like the flower I anticipated,
the blue flower, the rose
of my resonant homeland.

Laugh at the night,
at the last day, at the moon,
laugh at the twisted
streets of the island,
laugh at this clumsy
young man who loves you.
Yet when I open my eyes
and close them,
when my steps go,
when my steps return,
deny me bread, air,
light, spring,
but never your laughter
for I would die.