The Poet's Obligation
by Pablo Neruda
To whoever is not listening to the sea this Friday morning, to whoever is cooped up in the house or office, factory or woman or street or mine or dry prison cell, to him I come, and without speaking or looking I arrive and open the door of his prison, and a vibration starts up, vague and insistent, a long rumble of Thunder adds itself to the weight of the planet and the foam, the groaning rivers of the ocean rise, the star vibrates quickly in its crown and the sea beats, dies, and goes on beating.
So, drawn on by my destiny, I ceaselessly must listen to and keep the sea's lamenting in my consciousness, I must feel the crash of the hard water and gather it up in a perpetual cup so that, wherever those in prison may be, wherever they suffer the sentence of the autumn, I may be present with an errant wave, I may move in and out of windows, and hearing me, eyes may lift themselves, asking "How can I reach the sea?"
And I will pass to them, saying nothing, the starry echoes of the wave, a breaking up of foam and quicksand, a rustling of salt withdrawing itself, the gray cry of seabirds on the coast. So, through me, freedom and the sea will call in answer to the shrouded heart.