Tales of walking, eating, watching and playing. Vintage treasures and simple pleasures ... the things that make her happy.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Pablo Neruda

Some time ago I received a present.
Ten Poems to Change Your Life.  
It was sent to me by the writer of one of my favourite blogs,  

One of the poems was written by Pablo Neruda …

Ode to My Socks  

Maru Mori bought me
a pair of socks
which she knitted with her own
sheepherder  hands.
Two socks as soft as rabbits.
I slipped my feet into them
as if they were two cases
knitted with threads of twilight
and the pelt of sheep.

Outrageous socks,
my feet became two fish
made of wool,
two long sharks of ultramarine blue
crossed by one golden hair,
two gigantic blackbirds,
two cannons:
my feet were honoured in this way
by these heavenly socks.
They were so beautiful
that for the first time
my feet seemed to me unacceptable
like two decrepit  firemen,
firemen unworthy of that embroidered fire,
of these luminous socks.

I resisted the sharp temptation
to save them
as schoolboys keep fireflies,
as scholars collect sacred documents,
 resisted the wild impulse
to put them in a golden cage
and each day give them birdseed
and chunks of pink melon.
like explorers in the jungle
who hand over the rare green deer
to the roasting spit and eat it
with remorse.
I stretched out my feet
and pulled on
the magnificent socks
and then my shoes.

And the moral of my ode
Is this:
Beauty is twice beauty
and what is good is doubly good
When it’s a matter of two
woolen socks
in winter.

By Pablo Neruda
I love how Neruda makes me think and question.  
He often wrote about mundane, everyday items, 
 relishing them, revering them.

Pablo Neruda was a Chilean poet and politician.  Born in 1904, he was one of the renowned poets of the 20th century – Columbian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez called him “the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language”.
He wrote in many styles – 
surrealist poems, political declarations, erotic love poems, odes and epics.

He shared the World Peace Prize with Paul Robeson and Pable Picasso in 1950 and received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971.
I was first captivated by Neruda just over ten years ago.  
We were travelling to Peru, trekking to the ancient Inca city of Macchu Picchu.
I picked up a copy of ‘The Heights of Macchu Picchu’ by Pablo Neruda, 
inspired by his own journey into the high Andes.  
I was captivated.
Here are a couple of short extracts …

“Then up the ladder of the earth I climbed
Through the barbed jungle’s thickets
Until I reached you, Macchu Picchu.
Tall city of stepped stone,
Home at long last of whatever earth
Had never hidden in her sleeping clothes.
In you two lineage’s that had run parallel
Met where the cradle both of man and light
Rocked in a wind of thorns.
Mother of stone and sperm of condors
High reef of the human dawn …

… Look at me from the depths of the earth
Tiller of fields, weaver, reticent shepherd,
Groom of totemic guanacos,
Mason high on your treacherous scaffolding.
Iceman of Andean tears
Jeweler with crushed fingers,
Farmer anxious among his seedlings,
Potter wasted among his clays-
Bring to the cup of this new life
Your ancient burrowed sorrows.
Show me your blood and your furrow,
Say to me: here I was scourged
Because a gem was dull or because the earth
Failed to give up in time its tithe of corn or stone.
Point out to me the rock on which you stumbled,
The wood they used to crucify your body.
Strike the old flints
To kindle ancient lamps, light up the whips
Glued to your wounds throughout the centuries
And light the axes gleaming with your blood.

I come to speak for your dead mouths.”

As our band of four
(VJ, Mr VJ, Tinos the Dutch Girl and the Federico the Argentinian),
reached the ‘Sun Gate’ and looked down over the city of stone,
I felt Neruda's words and saw what he saw. 

Four brave explorers, 
we climbed the tall peak on the right - Huayna Picchu. 
I sat on the top ... I could not stand.
Dizzied with exhilaration and excitement.
I had conquered my mountain high.
I saw Incas and Sun Gods.

Thank you Jen.


In the strangest of coincidences, 
I find that Jen has just posted a Neruda poem ...


Maria said...

Hello there...
What a lovely post here,the poetry is beautiful and speaks out, actually I read a few times to absorb the words!
My bestie friend did the Inca trail in Peru, a few 'moons' back now and climbed her mountains and breathed the pure air and was touched by the wonder of it all...
Thanks for sharing with us and also for sweet emails, I do think that is a lovely idea!
Wishing you a enchanting week *****
LoVe Maria x

YeamieWaffles said...

This is such a great poem Jane, really made me happy this morning haha and that's often a hard one for me because I'm really not that much of a morning person!

thesnailgarden said...

Wow! Beautiful thought-provoking poetry. Macchu Pichu is somewhere that I have always wanted to visit. Thank you for sharing with us. Best wishes, Pj x

Lazy Daisy Jones said...

Mmmmm so thought provoking and joyfully intense, thank you!
Daisy J

demie said...

Isn't it amazing how a book or a single poem makes want to know more. Read more, from the same writer, find out more about his life, the place he cmes from, the period of time he/she lived, and then read other writers from the same period and so on... For me that's a part of the magic of reading...

I am so imprest you have been to Macchu Pichu! You are lucky to have that memory in your life : )

Rosemary said...

Lovely post and precious memories to last a lifetime. They say that great minds think alike and so it must be with you and Jen♥

Fading Grace said...

Lovely poetry, and a rare glimpsse of you there Mrs I am pleased to see :-)
p.s I wouldn't mind a pair of those special socks x

ted and bunny said...

nothing more exhilarating and satisfying than being at the top of that mountain- nothing ever seems the same again!

I have no recollection of the main body of the poem that really made me stop and think, just the end line which says "...and remember you are the listener, not the noise"

Don't you think autumn puts you in quite a poem-y frame of mind?


my little red suitcase said...

hello great post. I also went to Macchu Pichu about 16 years ago now. We climbed up just before sunrise, a big group of us,it was one of the hardest things I've ever done, I think I was ill at the time! I tried to climb the higher one but just couldn't do it. It was terrifying , I remember coming out on this ledge at the beginning and it being shear drop both sides! that was after signing my name in a book incase I didn't come back! I cried because I couldn't do it. So you must have been a very brave lady! an amazing place, Heather x

Tangled Sweetpea said...

What a fabulous poem, thank you for sharing it with us.
Victoria xx

Jen said...

Hmmm...I commented earlier, came back to add something, and don't see it.

It's crazy and interesting that we posted Neruda the same day! I almost took mine down this morning because I thought "nobody wants to read poetry" but I found some great responses and your parallel post! So I was wrong.

Your tribute is lovely, and I admire your journey to Macchu Picchu (and love the pictures.


Melanie said...

I shall never forget Ode to My Socks. Thanks for posting this and introducing me to Pablo Neruda.

the cuby poet said...

What a lovely poem the use of words is exquisite. Your blog friend Jen has also sent more beautiful wordscompleted by photos of high peaks iin particular Huayna Picchu which looks unclimeable but obviously isn't by those skilled and foolhardy. Thanks fo this great post and thanks to Jen too.

Jenny Woolf said...

The idea of fish made out of wool is wonderful. It encapsulates the feeling (to me, anyway) of having your feet in soft thick socks, and they seem to make those movements, almost a kind of gliding and twisting. Wonderful.

Kristie Franklin said...

Hello Marina,

How exciting to have been able to go to Peru and climb the high peaks. The photos are exquisite and awe inspiring. Is that you Marine in the picture sitting on the ledge? You are indeed a brave explorer.

I hope you are having a great weekend and not working too hard. I just finished painting (4) kitchen chairs in Annie Sloan Old White Chalk paint and will finish the table base tomorrow. I love the way it turned out. I've been meaning to do this for a couple of months now and since the weather was cooler I tackled it.