Thursday, January 14, 2010

on Pablo Neruda

Born in Chile, Pablo Neruda is considered one of the greatest and most influential poets of the 20th century.
Neruda always wrote in green ink because it was the color of Esperanza (hope). I love that.

I read the following poem today as part of my daily poetry readings. It is by GARY SOTOfrom the Northwest Review, Volume 47, Number 3 / 2009. It brings me back to my college days, pouring over poetry day and night and being inspired by the words on the page – causing me to want to be a better writer. Pablo Neruda is one I studied in school, and although this isn’t written by him, it encapsulates everything I admire about him.

I especially love the last stanza that starts:

The earth turns, and we turn with it…
I hope you enjoy as much as I do.

Fountain Pen
Neruda's fountain pen was a tree limb,
Large even in his hands, the vein of ink dark as earth.
When he wrote, wind stirred his journal,
Rain slapped gutters,
                              sunlight blazed on his poems,
Fruit dropped from a dozen different trees,
And the sea rolled its knuckles repeatedly
Against the shore.
                              And we could speak of lightning,
Of a crab dragging its claws like wrenches,
Of Lorca's shivering shadow held against a wall.
Over coffee mellowed by milk, we could speak of sugar
On a worker's back, of an onion with its buried tears,
Of a composer's need for the mood
To retrieve him from sleep.

Neruda scratched out poems in the shape of Chile,
His head lit with sweat,
For it took mighty strength to move earth and sea.
The fountain pen was a log,
His fingers the fingers of a man
Who pounded leather for a living,
Who rose before morning to spank dough into bread,
Who carted oranges, who scooped peanuts into sacks,
Who rubbed oils into hairlines
Receding like the sea.

The earth turns, and we turn with it,
Poets gripping chalk, pencils, pens,
Or sticks with which to write love's name in sand—
So what if a wave eats away what we've written?
When Neruda dotted the end of a sentence,
When he stood up at his desk
And capped his gold-tipped nib,
Others quickly dipped their own pens
Into the still dark but eternally wet ink.


Template by - background image by elmer.0