Tuesday, September 1

common things

this weekend I was reminded of an old love for pablo neruda, and the brilliant simplicity of his poetry. really, y'all. try this one on for size.

Ode to things
~Pablo Neruda
I have a crazy,
crazy love of things.
I like pliers,
and scissors.
I love
cups,
rings,
and bowls –
not to speak, or course,
of hats.
I love all things,
not just the grandest,
also the infinite-
ly small –
thimbles,
spurs,
plates, and flower vases.

Oh yes,
the planet
is sublime!
It’s full of pipes
weaving
hand-held
through tobacco smoke,
and keys
and salt shakers –
everything,
I mean,
that is made
by the hand of man, every little thing:
shapely shoes,
and fabric,
and each new
bloodless birth
of gold,
eyeglasses
carpenter’s nails,
brushes,
clocks, compasses,
coins, and the so-soft
softness of chairs.

Mankind has
built
oh so many perfect
things!
Built them of wool
and of wood,
of glass and
of rope:
remarkable
tables,
ships, and stairways.

I love
all
things,
not because they are
passionate
or sweet-smelling
but because,
I don’t know,
because
this ocean is yours,
and mine;
these buttons
and wheels
and little
forgotten
treasures,
fans upon
whose feathers
love has scattered
its blossoms,
glasses, knives and
scissors –
all bear
the trace
of someone’s fingers
on their handle or surface,
the trace of a distant hand
lost
in the depths of forgetfulness.

I pause in houses,
streets and
elevators
touching things,
identifying objects
that I secretly covet;
this one because it rings,
that one because
it’s as soft
as the softness of a woman’s hip,
that one there for its deep-sea color,
and that one for its velvet feel.

O irrevocable
river
of things:
no one can say
that I loved
only
fish,
or the plants of the jungle and the field,
that I loved
only those things that leap and climb, desire, and survive.
It’s not true:
many things conspired
to tell me the whole story.
Not only did they touch me,
or my hand touched them:
they were
so close
that they were a part
of my being,
they were so alive with me
that they lived half my life
and will die half my death.

alrightalright...that's not the one for you? maybe I'm the only one who paws things in shops, for the tactile thrill. this one, then, perhaps. how can anyone not love a guy who loved french fries this much?

Ode to french fries
~Pablo Neruda

What sizzles
in boiling
oil
is the world's
pleasure:
French fries
go
into the pan
like the morning swan's
feathers
and emerge
half-golden from the olive's
crackling amber.

Garlic
lends them
its earthly aroma,
its spice,
its pollen that braved the reefs.
Then,
dressed
anew
in ivory fruits, they fill our plates
with repeated abundance
and the delicious simplicity of the soil.

this is how he was inspired by potatoes. check out the love poems.



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