Tuesday, November 17, 2009

ode to (un)common things

fish by resurrection fern, bowl by artemisartemis, ring from here.
felted stone by me (with fibers from artemis artemis)

i've been struggling to write a post on my all-time favorite, couldn't-do-without-it ingredient over on domestic sensualist. i've been struggling because it's hard to narrow to just one ingredient - is it cream or onion or garlic or olive oil or bacon or...you get the idea. and i'm still not there yet (bee's going to go first), but in my quest to break through, i turned to poetry. yes. me. poetry. weird, huh? since i always protest that i'm not a poetry person. except for a bit of cavafy, the odd alexander blok and teeny bit of  akhmatova and mandelstam, poetry just doesn't speak to me. but then i remembered neruda. and the beautiful edition i have of his odes to common things with beautiful pen and ink illustrations by ferris cook. so, in light of yesterday's post on the simple things and reading all of the other beautiful posts about simple things around the blogosphere, i just had to share neruda's ode to things with all of you. in case you hadn't seen it. and since i don't speak spanish, i'm sharing it in english translation, tho' my edition has both.

ode to things

I have a crazy,
crazy love of things.
I like pliers,
and scissors.
I love
and bowls -
not to speak, or course,
of hats.
I love
all things,
not just
the grandest,
small -
and flower vases.

Oh yes,
the planet
is sublime!
It's full of pipes
through tobacco smoke,
and keys
and salt shakers -
I mean,
that is made
by the hand of man, every little thing:
shapely shoes,
and fabric,
and each new
bloodless birth
of gold,
carpenter's nails,
clocks, compasses,
coins, and the so-soft
softness of chairs.

Mankind has
oh so many
Built them of wool
and of wood,
of glass and
of rope:
ships, and stairways.
I love
not because they are
or sweet-smelling
but because,
I don't know,
this ocean is yours,
and mine;
these buttons
and wheels
and little
fans upon
whose feathers
love has scattered
its blossoms
glasses, knives and
scissors -
all bear
the trace
of someone's fingers
on their handle or surface,
the trace of a distant hand
in the depths of forgetfulness.

I pause in houses,
streets and
touching things,
identifying objects
that I secretly covet;
this one because it rings,
that one because
it's as soft
as the softness of a woman's hip,
that one there for its deep-sea color,
and that one for its velvet feel.

O irrevocable
of things:
no one can say
that I loved
or the plants of the jungle and the field,
that I loved
those things that leap and climb, desire, and survive.
It's not true:
many things conspired
to tell me the whole story.
Not only did they touch me,
or my hand touched them:
they were
so close
that they were a part
of my being,
they were so alive with me
that they lived half my life
and will die half my death.

antique locks from the middle east

it seems that no matter how much i try to convince myself otherwise, i really do love things. things of all kinds, but especially old things. or things that are nice to touch. or unusual things. things that have a story to tell. i just can't help myself.


Zuzana said...

Lovely poem and lovely pictures. I have often wondered if Pablo Neruda is in any way related to the Czech Jan Neruda.;)

Liz Fulcher, The Fragrant Muse said...

Oh, Julie, this is NIIIIICE! I'm not much of a poetry person either, but I love this. And I don't feel so bad about my attachment to things now :-)

The pale observer said...

Neruda is hands down my favourite poet of all time. And his book of Odes, my favourite of his!!!

This is great!

Have you read the Ode to the tomato?

I posted about it here: http://hollisramblings.blogspot.com/2008/07/ode-to-tomato-eating-lots-prevents.html.

This and Ode to a Lemon are my fav poems of all time! :)

Thanks for bringing Neruda to mind this fine day!!!

The pale observer said...

Oh! And this one:


Two english versions of Ode to a Lemon...

Did I mention how amazing the photos are in your post? :)

kristina said...

So beautiful. K x

Graciel said...

Hands down, that sensualist, Neruda, is my favorite. How lovely to find him here. And that rock fish? Must have one. Simple, clever, gorgeous.

I shall be back. :)

Anonymous said...

Why does this seem just the perfect poem for you? I mean, it really really suits YOU. No wonder you like it.

I like it too. : )

Anonymous said...

Why does this seem just the perfect poem for you? I mean, it really really suits YOU. No wonder you like it.

I like it too. : )

Char said...

i love him....this is perfect for you..and me. i love weird things though.

beautiful shots to go with the poetry too.

Teach.Workout.Love said...

this is a great post!! :)

An Open Heart said...

I hear ya Sister....things, things and more things.....


An Open Heart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mari Mansourian said...

goodness J great post!
love rings and old things too :)

Delena said...

Beautiful photography and the poem is wonderful.

Indiri Wood said...

Slightly unusual is definately best. Somewhat eccentric is more interesting than the everyday and results in fantastic conversations.

hele said...

really, really beautiful. thank you. my heart feels like its been nestling under a hand knitted soft pink mohair blanket.