Don’t go far off, not even for a day, because –
because – I don’t know how to say it: a day is long
and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station
when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep.
Don’t leave me, even for an hour, because
then the little drops of anguish will all run together,
the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift
into me, choking my lost heart.
Oh, may your silhouette never dissolve on the beach;
may your eyelids never flutter into the empty distance.
Don’t leave me for a second, my dearest,
because in that moment you’ll have gone so far
I’ll wander mazily over all the earth, asking,
Will you come back? Will you leave me here, dying?
I love Neruda’s poems for the freshness of his images. and the delightful visual pictures they draw. Love the sleeping train ,parked off somewhere else with the traveler waiting in an empty station. The beloved has gone far off but not really far off but may be for a day, which is not quite far off in time except for the seemingly interminable waiting it entails. Like the sleeping train parked off elsewhere, while one is waiting for the train in an empty station. The beloved goes off for a day or may be more but the waiting makes it appear as if she has gone off for a long time or for ever. Like the train parked off elsewhere.
Dont go far off,even for a day,says the lover.Like the train parked off elesewhere.Because I will be waiting for you and the day is long. The day is long when one is waiting ,eventhough the day is like any other day. Like the train parked off elsewhere with the passenger waiting in the empty station with the knowledge that the train will not arrive any time.
In the second stanza the day becomes an hour because one has already waited enough and every new hour brings fresh ennui. The tears are experienced in the compression of an hour, all at a time. The smoke that hovers in the sky looking for a home drifts into the lover because he is where it is easily condensed into a rain of tears.
May her silhouette not dissolve against the setting sun as she is going away from him for a day or even for an hour.Because if she dissolves on the beach she may not return sooner nor before the nightfall when the beach shall vanish into the night.
In the third stanza the absence has changed to a moment , from the hour of the second stanza and the day of the first stanza. As the absence grows the waiting becomes more and more unbearable and the beloved shall not go off even for a moment. Because in that moment the lover will wander mazily over the earth,asking “will you come back,will you leave me here, dying?