Consequences by Pablo Neruda

He was good, the man, sure
as his hoe and his plough.
He didn’t even have time
to dream while he slept.

He was poor to the point of sweat.
He was worth a single horse.

His son today is very proud
and is worth a number of cars.

He speaks with a senator’s voice,
he walks with an ample step,
has forgotten his peasant father
and discovered ancestors.
He thinks like a fat newspaper,
makes money night and day,
is important even asleep.

The sons of the son are many,
they married some time ago.
They do nothing, but they consume.
They’re worth thousands of mice.

The sons of the sons of the son—
what will they make of the world?
Will they turn out good or bad?
Worth flies or worth wheat?

You don’t want to answer me.

But the questions do not die.

translated by Alastair Reid

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