Fully Empowered


An important collection that includes some of the Nobel Prize winner's own favorite poems.

"The Sea"

A single entity, but no blood.

A single caress, death or a rose.

The sea comes in and puts our lives together

and attacks alone and spreads itself and sing

sin nights and ...

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An important collection that includes some of the Nobel Prize winner's own favorite poems.

"The Sea"

A single entity, but no blood.

A single caress, death or a rose.

The sea comes in and puts our lives together

and attacks alone and spreads itself and sing

sin nights and days and men and living creatures.

Its essence-fire and cold; movement, movement.

Pablo Neruda himself regarded Fully Empowered — which first appeared in Spanish in 1962 under the title Plenos Poderes — as a particular favorite, in part because it came out of a most fruitful period in his life. These thirty-six poems vary from short, intense lyrics to characteristic Neruda odes to magnificent meditations on the office of poet, including poems that would undoubtedly claim a place in any selection of Neruda's greatest work. "The People" ("El Pueblo"), about the state of the working man in Chile's past and present, and the most celebrated of Neruda's later poems, completes this reflective, graceful collection.

These 36 poems form a representative anthology of Neruda's vast poetic range, and include "The People", the most celebrated of his later poems.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
". . . Pablo Neruda will be with us in the perilous conquest of our future." —Carlos Fuentes, The New York Times Book Review
Library Journal
This edition of the Nobel prize winner's 1962 volume presents the 36 poems in both Spanish and English.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374513511
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 6/28/2001
  • Language: Spanish
  • Edition description: Second Edition, Bilingual Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 152
  • Sales rank: 954,223
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda (1904-73), one of the renowned poets of the twentieth century, was born in Parral, Chile. He shared the World Peace Prize with Paul Robeson and Pablo Picasso in 1950, and received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971.


Pablo Neruda (1904-1973), whose real name is Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto, was born on 12 July, 1904, in the town of Parral in Chile. His father was a railway employee and his mother, who died shortly after his birth, a teacher. Some years later his father, who had then moved to the town of Temuco, remarried Doña Trinidad Candia Malverde. The poet spent his childhood and youth in Temuco, where he also got to know Gabriela Mistral, head of the girls' secondary school, who took a liking to him. At the early age of thirteen he began to contribute some articles to the daily "La Mañana," among them, Entusiasmo y Perseverancia -- his first publication -- and his first poem. In 1920, he became a contributor to the literary journal "Selva Austral" under the pen name of Pablo Neruda, which he adopted in memory of the Czechoslovak poet Jan Neruda (1834-1891). Some of the poems Neruda wrote at that time are to be found in his first published book: Crepusculario (1923). The following year saw the publication of Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada, one of his best-known and most translated works. Alongside his literary activities, Neruda studied French and pedagogy at the University of Chile in Santiago.

Between 1927 and 1935, the government put him in charge of a number of honorary consulships, which took him to Burma, Ceylon, Java, Singapore, Buenos Aires, Barcelona, and Madrid. His poetic production during that difficult period included, among other works, the collection of esoteric surrealistic poems, Residencia en la tierra (1933), which marked his literary breakthrough.

The Spanish Civil War and the murder of García Lorca, whom Neruda knew, affected him strongly and made him join the Republican movement, first in Spain, and later in France, where he started working on his collection of poems España en el corazón (1937). The same year he returned to his native country, to which he had been recalled, and his poetry during the following period was characterized by an orientation towards political and social matters. España en el corazón had a great impact by virtue of its being printed in the middle of the front during the civil war.

In 1939, Neruda was appointed consul for the Spanish emigration, residing in Paris, and, shortly afterwards, consul general in Mexico, where he rewrote his "Canto general de Chile," transforming it into an epic poem about the whole South American continent, its nature, its people and its historical destiny. This work, entitled Canto general, was published in Mexico 1950, and also underground in Chile. It consists of approximately 250 poems brought together into fifteen literary cycles and constitutes the central part of Neruda's production. Shortly after its publication, Canto general was translated into some ten languages. Nearly all these poems were created in a difficult situation, when Neruda was living abroad.

In 1943, Neruda returned to Chile, and in 1945 he was elected senator of the Republic, also joining the Communist Party of Chile. Due to his protests against President González Videla's repressive policy against striking miners in 1947, he had to live underground in his own country for two years until he managed to leave in 1949. After living in different European countries he returned home in 1952. A great deal of what he published during that period bears the stamp of his political activities; one example is Las uvas y el viento (1954), which can be regarded as the diary of Neruda's exile. In Odas elementales (1954-1959) his message is expanded into a more extensive description of the world, where the objects of the hymns -- things, events and relations -- are duly presented in alphabetic form.

Neruda's production is exceptionally extensive. For example, his Obras completas, constantly republished, comprised 459 pages in 1951; in 1962 the number of pages was 1,925, and in 1968 it amounted to 3,237, in two volumes. Among his works of the last few years can be mentioned Cien sonetos de amor (1959), which includes poems dedicated to his wife, Matilde Urrutia, Memorial de Isla Negra, a poetic work of an autobiographic character in five volumes, published on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday, Arte de pajáros (1966), La Barcarola (1967), the play Fulgor y muerte de Joaquín Murieta (1967), Las manos del día (1968), Fin del mundo (1969), Las piedras del cielo (1970), and La espada encendida.

Pablo Neruda died in 1973.

© The Nobel Foundation 1971

Good To Know

Always a political activist, Neruda was an anarchist for a time, but joined the Communist Party of Chile in 1945. He actually ran for president of Chile but eventually left the race to support Salvador Allende.

He had three wives throughout his lifetime: Mar a Antonieta Hagenaar, Delia de Carril, and Matilde Urrutia. He married Mar in 1930, but they divorced in 1936. He lived with Carril from the 1930s until they divorced in 1955 (they married in 1943). In 1966, he married Urrutia.

Neruda owned three homes in Chile that are open today as museums: "La Chascona" in Santiago, "La Sebastiana" in Valpara, and "Casa de Isla Negra" in Isla Negra, where he and his third wife, Matilde Urrutia, are buried.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto (real name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 12, 1904
    2. Place of Birth:
      Parral, Chile
    1. Date of Death:
      September 23, 1973
    2. Place of Death:
      Santiago, Chile

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

    Deber del poeta

A quien no escucha el mar en este viernes
por la mañana, a quien adentro de algo,
casa, oficina, fábrica o mujer,
o calle o mina o seco calabozo:
a éste yo acudo y sin hablar ni ver
llego y abro la puerta del encierro
y un sin fin se oye vago en la insistencia,
un largo trueno roto se encadena
al peso del planeta y de la espuma,
surgen los ríos roncos del océano,
vibra veloz en su rosal la estrella
y el mar palpíta, muere y continúa.
Así por el destino conducido
debo sin tregua oír y conservar
el lamento marino en mi conciencia,
debo sentir el golpe de agua dura
y recogerlo en una taza eterna
para que donde esté el encarcelado,
don de sufra el castigo del otoño
yo esté presente con una ola errante,
yo circule a través de las ventanas
y al oírme levante la mirada
diciendo: cómo me acercaré al océano?
Y yo transmitiré sin decir nada
los ecos estrellados de la ola,
un quebranto de espuma y arenales,
un susurro de sal que se retira,
el grito gris del ave de la costa.
Y así, por mí, la libertad y el mar
responderán al corazón oscuro.

    The Poet's Obligation

To whoever is not listening to the sea
this Friday morning, to whoever is cooped up
in house or office, factory or woman
or street ormine or dry prison cell,
to him I come, and without speaking or looking
I arrive and open the door of his prison,
and a vibration starts up, vague and insistent,
a long rumble of thunder adds itself
to the weight of the planet and the foam,
the groaning rivers of the ocean rise,
the star vibrates quickly in its corona
and the sea beats, dies, and goes on beating.
So, drawn on by my destiny,
I ceaselessly must listen to and keep
the sea's lamenting in my consciousness,
I must feel the crash of the hard water
and gather it up in a perpetual cup
so that, wherever those in prison may be,
wherever they suffer the sentence of the autumn,
I may be present with an errant wave,
I may move in and out of windows,
and hearing me, eyes may lift themselves,
asking "How can I reach the sea?"
And I will pass to them, saying nothing,
the starry echoes of the wave,
a breaking up of foam and quicksand,
a rustling of salt withdrawing itself,
the gray cry of sea birds on the coast.
So, through me, freedom and the sea
will call in answer to the shrouded heart.

    La palabra

la palabra en la sangre,
creció en el cuerpo oscuro, palpitando,
y voló eon los labios y la boca.
Más lejos y más cerca
aún, aún venía
de padres muertos y de errantes razas,
de territorios que se hicieron piedra,
que se cansaron de sus pobres tribus,
porque cuando el dolor salió al camino
los pueblos anduvieron y llegaron
y nueva tierra y agua reunieron
para sembrar de nuevo su palabra.
Y así la herencía es ésta:
éste es el aire que nos comunica
con el hombre enterrado y con la aurora
de nuevos seres que aún no amanecieron.
Aún la atmósfera tiembla
eon la primera palabra
con pánico y gemido.
de las tinieblas
y hasta ahora no hay trueno
que truene aún con su ferretería
como aquella palabra,
la primera
palabra pronunciada:
tal vez sólo un susurro fue, una gota,

    The Word

The word
was born in the blood,
grew in the dark body, beating,
and took flight through the lips and the mouth.
Farther away and nearer
still, still it came
from dead fathers and from wandering races,
from lands which had turned to stone,
lands weary of their poor tribes,
for when grief took to the roads
the people set out and arrived
and married new land and water
to grow their words again.
And so this is the inheritance;
this is the wavelength which connects us
with dead men and the dawning
of new beings not yet come to light.
Still the atmosphere quivers
with the first word uttered
dressed up
in terror and sighing.
It emerged
from the darkness
and until now there is no thunder
that ever rumbles with the iron voice
of that word,
the first
word uttered—
perhaps it was only a ripple, a single drop,
y cae y cae aún su catarata.
Luego el sentido llena la palabra.
Quedó preñada y se llenó de vidas,
Todo fue nacimientos y sonidos:
la afirmación, la claridad, la fuerza,
la negación, la destrucción, la muerte:
el verbo asumió todos los poderes
y se fundió existencia con esencia
en la electricidad de su hermosura.
Palabra humana, sílaba, cadera
de larga luz y dura platería,
hereditaria copa que recibe
las comunicaciones de la sangre:
he aquí que el silencio fue integrado
por el total de la palabra humana
y no hablar es morir entre los seres:
se hace lenguaje hasta la cabellera,
habla la boca sin mover los labios:
los ojos de repente son palabras.
Yo tomo la palabra y la recorro
como si fuera sólo forma humana,
me embelesan sus líneas y navego
en cada resonancia del idioma:
pronuncio y soy y sin hablar me acerca
el fin de las palabras al silencio.
Bebo por la palabra levantando
una palabra o copa cristalina,
en ella bebo
and yet its great cataract falls and falls.
Later on, the word fills with meaning.
Always with child, it filled up with lives.
Everything was births and sounds—
affirmation, clarity, strength,
negation, destruction, death—
the verb took over all the power
and blended existence with essence
in the electricity of its grace.
Human word, syllable, flank
of extending light and solid silverwork,
hereditary goblet which receives
the communications of the blood—
here is where silence came together with
the wholeness of the human word,
and, for human beings, not to speak is to die—
language extends even to the hair,
the mouth speaks without the lips moving,
all of a sudden, the eyes are words.
I take the word and pass it through any senses
as though it were no more than a human shape;
its arrangements awe me and I find my way
through each resonance of the spoken word—
I utter and I am and, speechless, I approach
across the edge of words silence itself.
I drink to the word, raising
a word or a shining cup;
in it I drink
el vino del idioma
o el agua interminable,
manantial maternal de las palabras,
y copa y agua y vino
originan mi canto
porque el verbo es origen
y vierte vida: es sangre,
es la sangre que expresa su substancia
y está dispuesto así su desarrollo:
dan cristal al cristal, sangre a la sangre,
y dan vida a la vida las palabras.
the pure wine of language
or inexhaustible water,
maternal source of words,
and cup and water and wine
give rise to my song
because the verb is the source
and vivid life—it is blood,
blood which expresses its substance
and so ordains its own unwinding.
Words give glass quality to glass, blood to blood,
and life to life itself.


Cuerpo más puro que un ola,
sal que lava la línea,
y el ave lúcida
volando sin raíces.


Body more perfect than a wave,
salt washing the sea line,
and the shining bird
flying without ground roots.


Todo en la tierra se encrespó, la zarza
clavó y el hilo verde
mordía, el pétalo cayó cayendo
hasta que única flor fue la caída.
El agua es diferente,
no tiene dirección sino hermosura,
corre pot cada sueño de color,
toma lecciones claras
de la piedra
y en esos menesteres elabora
los deberes intactos de la espuma.


Everything on the earth bristled, the bramble
pricked and the green thread
nibbled away, the petal fell, falling
until the only flower was the falling itself.
Water is another matter,
has no direction but its own bright grace,
runs through all imaginable colors,
takes limpid lessons
from stone,
and in those functionings plays out
the unrealized ambitions of the foam.
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Table of Contents

Introduction vii
The Poet's Obligation 3
The Word 5
Ocean 11
Water 13
The Sea 15
It Is Born 17
Tower 19
Planet 21
Naked 23
In the Tower 25
Bird 29
Serenade 31
The Builder 33
To Wash a Child 35
In Praise of Ironing 37
Births 39
To the Dead Poor Man 43
To "La Sebastiana" 49
Goodbyes 55
For Everyone 59
Spring 61
To DonAsterio Alarcón, Clocksmith of Valparaíso 63
To Acario Cotapos 69
The Wanderer Returned 77
Alstromeria 83
Investigations 87
C.O.S.C 91
The Night in Isla Negra 95
Thistle 97
Past 103
To E.S.S 107
To the Same Port 113
To Sadness/II 117
Summary 121
The People 123
Fully Empowered 133
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