The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems by Pablo Neruda

The human soul was threshed out like maize
   in the endless
granary of defeated actions,
   of mean things that happened,
to the very edge of endurance, and beyond,
and not only death, but many deaths,
   came to each one:
each day a tiny death, dust, worm, a light
flicked off in the mud at the city's edge,
   a tiny death with coarse wings
pierced into each man like a short lance
and the man was besieged by the bread or by the knife,
the cattle-dealer: the child of sea-harbours,
   or the dark captain of the plough,
or the rag-picker of snarled streets:
everybody lost heart, anxiously waiting for death,
   the short death of every day:
and the grinding bad luck of every day was
like a black cup that they drank,
   with their hands shaking.

Book: The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems by Pablo Neruda
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