Among my works, I have chosen a poem I am including, Alturas de Macchu Picchu*which I estimate the most representative of my last production. It has not yet been included in any of my books. First appeared in Expressión ( 1947), a literary magazine of Buenos Aires, and then published in Confluences ( 1947), a literary magazine of Paris (translated into French by Roger Callois); is almost an unknown piece of my work among a big portion of my readers. This poem represents a tendency in my literary development to confine and devote my efforts to my continent, America, its land, people and culture. This tendency is visible in all of my poems which have appeared in several Latin American periodicals lately. Part of them are ready to be printed by Editorial Losada of Buenos Aires, this year, under the name of Canto General.
[The following translation, specially prepared for THE WORLD'S BEST, is the first English rendering of Alturas de Macchu Picchu.]
In Neruda's long quest for the essence of America, it is fitting that he should be inspired by these ruins. After the philosophical introduction, the poet climbs up to Macchu Picchu (Stanza VI) and contemplates the geology, geography and history of the Inca city, and reflects upon man's cruelty to man and the meaning of "eternal" verities.