News from Chile, with greetings from Neruda

2014-10-10 20.15.25-1 As you may guess, no MBO today. I’ve been attending the conference of the World Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists in Santiago de Chile. I will fly back home today.

I leave you in the company of Neruda, in what, I think, would be his opinion about computational chemistry. Maybe he even told that to Gerhard Herzberg when they met during the Nobel ceremony in Stockholm in 1971.

Tuvimos, hombre,
tiempo
para que nuestra sed
fuera saciándose,
el ancestral deseo
de enumerar las cosas
y sumarlas,
de reducirlas hasta
hacerlas polvo,
arenales de números.
Fuimos
empapelando
el mundo
con números y nombres,
pero
las cosas existían,
se fugaban
del número,
enloquecían en sus
cantidades,
se evaporaban
dejando
su olor o su recuerdo
y quedaban los números vacíos.

We had, man,
time
so our thirst
was being satisfied,
the ancestral desire
of enumerating things
and summing them,
of reducing them until
rendering them dust,
dunes of numbers.
We have been
papering
the world
with numbers and names,
but
the things existed,
fled from the number,
went crazy in their
quantities,
evaporated
leaving
their fragrance or their memory,
and remained the empty numbers.

This poem is part of Neruda’s “Oda a los números”.

I hope my translation makes justice to the original. You can also check an alternative translation by W. Pitt Root.

MB



Categories: Culture, General

Tags: , , ,

A penny for your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: