Ode to a Large Tuna in the Market
Here, among the market vegetables, this torpedo from the ocean depths, a missile that swam, now lying in front of me dead. Surrounded by the earth's green froth —these lettuces, bunches of carrots— only you lived through the sea's truth, survived the unknown, the unfathomable darkness, the depths of the sea, the great abyss, le grand abîme, only you: varnished black-pitched witness to that deepest night. Only you: dark bullet barreled from the depths, carrying only your one wound, but resurgent, always renewed, locked into the current, fins fletched like wings in the torrent, in the coursing of the underwater dark, like a grieving arrow, sea-javelin, a nerveless oiled harpoon. Dead in front of me, catafalqued king of my own ocean; once sappy as a sprung fir in the green turmoil, once seed to sea-quake, tidal wave, now simply dead remains; in the whole market yours was the only shape left with purpose or direction in this jumbled ruin of nature; you are a solitary man of war among these frail vegetables, your flanks and prow black and slippery as if you were still a well-oiled ship of the wind, the only true machine of the sea: unflawed, undefiled, navigating now the waters of death. Pablo Neruda Trans. Robin Robertson