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I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.
March 1, 2013 9:33 AM   Subscribe

Pablo Neruda (bio, pics, recordings) was a Chilean poet and Nobel Prize winner. His work comprises 48 books* (excluding posthumous publications), the most famous of which remain Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair (scribd, alt) (Spanish, alt) and Canto General (Spanish). Documentary.

In this remake of the 1983 Ardiente Paciencia by Antonio Skarmeta, the time and place have been changed to Italy in the 1950s, but the relationship between the Chilean Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda and Mario (Massimo Troisi), the postman who delivers his copious mail, is still the focus of attention.

Previously.

*There is a full Spanish bibliography by the Neruda Foundation in the second link. In the extended version, skip to page 92 for English translations.
posted by ersatz (13 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is there anything more silly in life than to call yourself Pablo Neruda?
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:34 AM on March 1, 2013


In all seriousness, great post. I look forward to watching this documentary.

Can we do favorite Neruda poems? Mine is hands down Ode to Some Yellow Flowers (from Odes to Common Things).
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:37 AM on March 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


One year, I helped my college improv-comedy troupe advertise to freshmen after the big introductory ceremony. All the extracurricular groups set up tables on the soccer field. As the day went on, I took a Spanish edition of Twenty Love Poems (I don't remember where I got it) and shouted extracts therefrom at passersby.

It's silly, but it's one of my fondest memories of college, and I've always liked Neruda since then. Great post.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:42 AM on March 1, 2013


Can we do favorite Neruda poems? Mine is hands down Ode to Some Yellow Flowers (from Odes to Common Things).

Mine is, I think, Poem 14 'Every day you play' (actually this). He has written a lot.
posted by ersatz at 10:17 AM on March 1, 2013




awww...Quiero hacer contigo...I love that poem :)
posted by supermedusa at 10:47 AM on March 1, 2013


Love Sonnet XI

I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.

I hunger for your sleek laugh,
your hands the color of a savage harvest,
hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,
I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.

I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,

and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
hunting for you, for your hot heart,
like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.
posted by infini at 11:01 AM on March 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thank you, ersatz. That is the sexiest line in all of poetry.
posted by theora55 at 11:43 AM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I impressed a group of dudes with whom I had struck up a conversation in a Buenos Aires bar when I asked them what some cocktail was, they listed off the ingredients (with the implicit arrangement that I name the ingredient in English at each step), and you could see them hesitate when they got to the artichoke liqueur (Cynar I guess), but I fuckin' nailed it and everybody had a good yell. I owe that little bit of drunken triumph to "Oda a la alcachofa."

More seriously, my enduring favorite of his has always been "Me gustas cuando callas" ("XV. I Like It When You're Still" in the Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair above), but I'm a sucker for an apparent contradiction well-resolved.
posted by invitapriore at 11:52 AM on March 1, 2013


I took a course on the life and works of Neruda with Martin Espada at UMass. It was absolutely fundamental to the course my life took thereafter, and to my understanding of what it meant to be a poet.

Previously, as a young woman, I had obsessed over Sylvia Plath. To see the entire trajectory of Neruda's life -- from mopey romantic teenager to angry political protester to everyman to Chile's ambassador to meditative old guy to dying in the mountains on the run from Pinochet -- was such a critical antidote to Plath (I mean, obviously -- head in oven, or poems about how great socks and birds are?) Completely changed my mind about what one could do as a poet.

And, along with Espada letting us out of class to go to protests, it turned me away from thinking as the primary thing a life needed to be about. The rest is a long story.

But: Neruda! Your poems are a roof over my head, a handle to a door! Just as you wanted.
posted by gusandrews at 1:24 PM on March 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Did I hear that his body is being exhumed to check for evidence of poisoning?
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 1:37 PM on March 1, 2013


Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example, 'The night is starry
and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.'

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is starry and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tries to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another's. She will be another's. As she was before my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.
posted by CrystalDave at 2:26 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I once agreed to go on a date with a boy because he quoted Neruda at me.
posted by a hat out of hell at 3:19 PM on March 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


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