The Poet’s Obligation.
To whoever is not listening to the sea
this Friday morning, to whoever is cooped up
in house or office, factory or woman
or street or mine or dry prison cell,
to him I come, and without speaking or looking
I arrive and open the door of his prison,
and a vibration starts up, vague and insistent,
a long rumble of thunder adds itself
to the weight of the planet and the foam,
the groaning rivers of the ocean rise,
the star vibrates quickly in its corona
and the sea beats, dies, and goes on beating.
Excerpt from The Poets obligation
Pablo Neruda (July 12, 1904 – September 23, 1973) was the pen name and later, legal name of the Chilean poet and politician Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. He chose his pen name after the Czech poet Jan Neruda, as the young poet wanted to find a name that would mislead his father, who was against his son’s interest in writing and literature. Years later, Pablo Neruda in recognition of the great Czech poet, left a flower at the foot of his statue in Prague. Pablo is thought to be from Paul Verlaine. (wikipedia)
“Fully Empowered" is an outstanding volume of poetry by Pablo Neruda. The book was translated into English in 1975, and is a bilingual edition, with the Spanish originals and English versions on facing pages. It was first published in 1962 (Spanish) and Neruda considered it one of his favourites, specifically asking for his finest translator, Alastair Reed to translate it into English. Neruda’s love for this collection of his poetry, was partly due to the fact that it grew from a period he considered really fruitful, and that it represented the diversity of his poetic style.
Through images, both public and private, he wrote with passion of the role of the poet in society, of how poetry was not some esoteric elitist word-game, that it should be the life blood of any nation, exalting the very basis of existence with an intense, personal, and childlike love.
So through me, freedom and the sea
will call in answer to the shrouded heart.
Pablo Neruda (wikipedia)