I discovered Pablo Neruda around 15-17 years ago while I was still a wide-eyed, naive, impressionable graduate student in Psychology – just about ready for romance and the ‘river of words’ cascading from Neruda’s polished lines and glistening verse.
I was just mad about poetry – was breathing it at the same time that I was learning systemic therapy, projective techniques (marveling at the inkblot artwork in the Rorschach test), and taking ownership of my unresolved issues through several hands-on interactive Gestalt therapy workshops. I’ve always derived a certain high from traversing the creative and highly structured narratives – dancing around MANOVA and manipulation of independent variables with my disciplined yet free-floating spirit. My friends are aware of my romance with Neruda and they would indulge me by giving me scraps of his poetry or lovely copies of his book similar to this one I received on my birthday in 1999.
What can I say? I have fabulous soul sisters who know my heart. This week, I shall share a few lines from his Question Book written in 1974 – with all of you, my Poetry Friday friends. Our lovely host is Renee from No Water River who is offering us a Bowl Of Poetry Candy this week. I hope that Neruda’s words would speak to you as they always do to me.
III (p. 175)
Tell me, is the rose really naked
or does it just dress that way?
Why do the trees hide
the splendor of their roots?
Who hears the penance
of the criminal automobile?
Is there anything in the world sadder
than a motionless train in the rain?
XXXI (p. 185)
Whom can I ask
what I meant to achieve in this world?
Why do I move without wanting to,
Why can’t I stand still?
Why do I roll around without wheels
and fly without feathers or wings?
And how can I talk transmigration
if my bones live in Chile?
XXXV (p. 187)
Won’t our life be a tunnel
between two vague clarities?
Or will it be a clarity
between two shadowy triangles?
Or maybe life is a fish
about to turn into a bird?
Will death be made out of non-being
or some other more dangerous substances?
XLIV (p. 193)
Where is the child that I was –
inside of me still – or gone?
Does he know I never loved him
or he, me?
Why did we spend so much time
growing up, only to grow apart?
Why didn’t both of us die
when my infancy died?
And if spirit has fallen away from me
why does a skeleton follow me?