The Last Toast – Nicanor Parra

The Last Toast

Whether we like it or not,
We have only three choices:
Yesterday, today and tomorrow.

And not even three
Because as the philosopher says
Yesterday is yesterday
It belongs to us only in memory:
From the rose already plucked
No more petals can be drawn.

The cards to play
Are only two:
The present and the future.

And there aren’t even two
Because it’s a known fact
The present doesn’t exist
Except as it edges past
And is consumed…,
like youth.

In the end
We are only left with tomorrow.
I raise my glass
To the day that never arrives.

But that is all
we have at our disposal.

Nicanor Parra (1914–2018)

— translated by Miller Williams