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.
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.
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.