I translated this sonnet using an ethically dubious method I describe in a node called Plagiarism for Profit and Prestige. To wit, I combined my three years of high school Spanish, a Spanish-English Dictionary, an respectable, albeit somewhat uninspired, English translation by Stephen Tapscott, and Pablo Neruda's Spanish original, to come up with what I believe is a passable rendition, in some ways preferable to Tapscott's, but of course-- and this is key—- impossible to have done without Tapscott having already done the heavy-lifting of translation.

I did this amateur translation about 8 years ago, when I was staying with my sister waiting for her to have her baby. It was a fun and challenging way to pass the time. (I'm particularly fond of what I did with the final three lines.) If you have a poet you like who writes his or her originals in a foreign language you have some facility with, I highly recommend it as a way to really dig into the original poesy and find its finer truth. I use it here as an example of how easy it is to call oneself a translator if one uses another's translation to bootstrap from.

Here's the original:

No tengo nunca más, no tengo siempre. En la arena
la victoria dejó sus pies perdidos.
Soy un pobre hombre dispuesto a amar a sus semejantes.
No sé quién eres. Te amo. No doy, no vendo espinas.

Alguien sabrá tal vez que no tejí coronas
sangrientas, que combatí la burla,
y que en verdad llené la pleamar de mi alma.
Yo pagué la vileza con palomas.

Yo no tengo jamás porque distinto
fui, soy, seré. Y en nombre
de mi cambiante amor proclamo la pureza.

La muerte es solo piedra del olvido.
Te amo, beso en tu boca la alegría.
Traigamos leña. Haremos fuego en la montaña.

Here's Tapscott's

I have no never-again, I have no always. In the sand
Victory abandoned its footprints.
I am a poor man willing to love his fellow men.
I don't know who you are. I love you. I don't give away thorns, and I don't sell them.

Maybe someone will know that I didn't weave crowns
to draw blood; that I fought against mockery;
that I did fill the high tide of my soul with truth. I repaid vileness with doves.

I have no never, because I was different—
Was, am will be. And in the name
Of my ever-changing love I proclaim a purity.

Death is only the stone of oblivion.
I love you, on your lips I kiss happiness itself.
Let's gather firewood. We'll light a fire on the mountain.

Here's mine:

I don't hold on to never. I don't hold on to forever. In the sand
victory leaves vanishing footprints.
I'm just a poor man disposed to cherishing our similarities.
Whoever you are. I love you. I neither give nor sell suspicion.

Someone knows that I haven't woven crowns
of thorns; that I've fought the stupidness,
And the tide of my spirit filled up with truth.
I repaid the vicious with doves.

I don't hold on to never because I'm distinct,
Every moment, I have been, I am, I always will be.
In the name of my love's changeability I proclaim its purity.

Death is only a stone of oblivion.
I love you. Into your mouth I kiss happiness.
Let's gather some sticks. Let's light a fire on the mountain.