Sometimes I pick out my Wordless Wednesday photo beforehand as the week can get quite busy. Today, while perusing old photos, I happened upon one from Chascona, a Pablo Neruda house in Santiago. I have actually visited all three of the houses and loved them each in their own way. I chose it. Now, later, I thought I should write something about him.
Most people (particularly those not from Chile) think of Pablo Neruda, the poet. In particular, they think of his love poems and, truly, he was gifted. In High School, I was tasked with memorizing and reciting one of his poems. I choose “Poem 15” from Twenty Poems of Love, and One Desperate Song.
“Me gustas cuando callas porque estás como ausente.
Distante y dolorosa como si hubieras muerto.
Una palabra entonces, una sonrisa bastan.
Y estoy alegre, alegre de que no sea cierto.”
And of course, 100 Sonnets of Love, written for Matilda who lived in La Chascona, is well known and utterly moving. For me, highlights include, Number 17:
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep
But, having lived in Chile and being close to people touched by the dictatorship, when I think of Pablo Neruda, I think of his political poems and the impact he had on the left during the dictatorship.
So let no one be perturbed when
I seem to be alone and am not alone;
I am with no one and I speak for all.
Someone is hearing me without knowing it,
but those I sing of, whose who know,
go on being born and will overflow the world.
And, my favorite:
My heart has traveled
in the same pair of shoes,
and i have digested the thorns.
I had no rest where I was:
where I hit out, I was struck
where they murdered me I fell;
and I revived, as fresh as ever,
and then and then and then and then-
it all takes so long to tell.
I have nothing to add.
I came to live in this world.
I have a coffee table book, Pablo Neruda, Absence and Presence, I love the photos (including of his destroyed house that Matilda had taken before passing away) and the portraits. I love the poems and the politics. The simplicity of this book. I have the book hidden away for now, lest it be destroyed by my toddler, but someday, perhaps, I will bring it out again to share.