Rain (Rapa Nui) | Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda as a young man                                                           Easter Island women

No, better the Queen not recognize 
your face, it’s sweeter 
this way, my love, far from the effigies, the weight 
of your hair in my hands. Do you remember 
the Mangareva tree whose flowers fell 
in your hair? These fingers are not like 
the white petals: look at them they are like roots, 
they are like stone shoots over which the lizard 
slides. Don’t be afraid, we will wait for the rain to fall, naked, 
the rain, the same as falls over Manu Tara.

But just as water inures its strokes on the stone, 
it falls on us, washing us softly 
towards obscurity down below the hole 
of Ranu Raraku. And so 
don’t let the fishermen or the wine-pitcher see you. 
Bury your twin-burning breast on my mouth, 
and let your head of hair be a small night for me, 
a darkness of wet perfume enveloping me.

At night I dream that you and I are two plants 
that grew together, roots entwined, 
and that you know the earth and the rain like my mouth, 
since we are made of earth and rain. Sometimes 
I think that with death we will seep below, 
in the depths at the feet of he effigy, looking over 
the ocean which brought us here to build and make love.

My hands were not ferrous when they met you, the waters 
of another sea went through them as through a net; now 
water and stones sustain seeds and secrets.

Sleeping and naked, love me: on the shore 
you are like the island: your love confused, your love 
astonished, hidden in the cavity of dreams, 
is like the movement of the sea around us.

And when I too begin falling asleep 
in your love, naked, 
leave my hand between your breasts so it can throb 
along with your nipples wet with rain.

Pablo Neruda / Rain (Rapa Nui) 
translation Anthony Kerrigan

Rapa Nui (Easter Island, Spanish: Isla de Pascua) is a Chilean island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, 
at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian Triangle.

Bishop Monsignor Tepano Jaussen, 1868 Easter island’s carved tablet.
 The tablet is a kohau rongorongo, or “clever hibiscus wood” on which Easter island’s traditions were recorded.
The characters are carved with a small shark’s tooth.
Petroglyphs at Ana o Keke, Easter Island





< Percy Edmonds in Sydenham Hill, London in 1911 with a moai human figure carved by the Rapa Nui people.



Henry Percy Edmunds acquired his first camera, after a visit to Chile in 1911. It was a device that used glass plates, which Edmunds developed and printed himself on Easter Island.



Moai figure, small wooden statue of uncertain religious significance, carved on Easter Island. The figures, thought to be representations of ancestors who live on in the form of skeletons, are of two types, moai kavakava (male) and moai paepae (female). They were sometimes used for fertility rites but were more often used for harvest celebrations, during which the first picking of fruits was heaped around them as offerings.

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