Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pablo Neruda–Fully Empowered.

  The Poet’s Obligation.
pablo neruda
  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)
Poets(Pablo Neruda)


gina said...

You know, I don't read enough poetry.
I love this new-to-me poem and will have to keep it closeby when I'm in my prison.

Robyn Ryle said...

Beautiful excerpt there. Thanks for sharing.

@parridhlantern said...

Thanks,for your comment Robyn.

Hi Gina, This tiny excerpt is beautiful, but only a small part of a good poem in a collection of good poems.

Patrick (at The Literate Man) said...

Great post and excerpt. I love Neruda, but tend to forget how much until someone reminds me of his genius. Thank you for doing so. His autobiography--Confieso Que He Vivido: Memorias--is also excellent, and I'm sure it's around in English.

@parridhlantern said...

Hi Patrick, yeah it's just called "Memoirs" in English, and the passion in his prose just burns on the page.
Ps, for an example of an ideal glass for the malt, check out the glass on my post "101 Whiskies to try before you die" or track down a "Glencairn Glass.(LOL).

Tom C said...

Very interesting - he was just a name to me before I read your article - and it certainly never occurred to me that his name was a pen-name. I will see if my library has a copy for loan

@parridhlantern said...

@Tom C: To be honest, until I did some minor research for this piece, I'd not realised that is was a pen name, &the reasoning for it was the same as Yukio Mishima's ( parental disapproval). Also never realised that although Borges recognized him as a great poet, going so far as to say that he should win the Nobel prize (which he eventually did), he didn't rate him as a man

gina said...

Haha, prison=my office:) Only sometimes!