Nicanor Parra

(September 5, 1914 / Chillán)

I Take Back Everything I’ve Said


Before I go

I’m supposed to get a last wish:

Generous reader

burn this book

It’s not at all what I wanted to say

Though it was written in blood

It’s not what I wanted to say.

No lot could be sadder than mine

I was defeated by my own shadow:

My words took vengeance on me.

Forgive me, reader, good reader

If I cannot leave you

With a warm embrace, I leave you

With a forced and sad smile.

Maybe that’s all I am

But listen to my last word:

I take back everything I’ve said.

With the greatest bitterness in the world

I take back everything I’ve said.


— translated by Miller Williams

Submitted: Thursday, December 08, 2011
Edited: Thursday, December 08, 2011

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  • Elena Sandu (8/23/2013 5:18:00 AM)

    I am inlove with this poem! We may be certain of words but not the works of minds. With take back everything I've said a restless mind is clearly shown, working nonstop could never remain the same, so maybe by taking the words back could give free way to go on. Of course I may be wrong but this is how I feel this brilliant poem. It helps me appreciate even more the chance given by the internet. (Report) Reply

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