Parthenogenesis by Pablo Neruda
Day by day, all those who gave
me advice get crazier and crazier.
Luckily, I Paid no attention
and they took off for some other city
where they live together
swapping hats with each other.
They were praiseworthy types,
so that all my ineptitude
caused them great suffering:
The got gray-haired and wrinkled,
wouldn’t stomach theur chestnuts,
and finally an autumnal depression
left them delirious.
Now I don’t know which way to be-
absent-minded or respectful;
shall I yeild to advice
or tell them outright they’re hysterical?
Independence as such gets me nowhere,
I get lost in the underbrush,
I don’t know if I’m coming or going.
Shall I move on or stand put,
but tom-cats or tomatoes?
I’ll figure out as best I can
what I ought not to do -and then do it:
that way, I can make a good case
for the times I got lost on the way;
if I don’t make mistakes
who’ll have faith in my errors?
If I live like a savant
no one will be greatly impressed.
Well, I’ll try to change for the better:
greet them all curcumspectly,
watch out for appearances,
be dedicated, enthusiastic-
till I’m just what they ordered,
being and un-being at will
till I’m totally otherwise.
Then if they let me alone,
I’ll change my whole person,
disagree with my skin,
get a new mouth,
change my shoes and my eyes-
then when I’m different
and nobody can recognize me
-since anything else is unthinkable-
I’ll go on as i was in the beginning.