Wednesday, October 21, 2009

FreeVerse: Ode to some yellow flowers (Neruda)

Cara over at Ooh... Books! has come up with an idea I absolutely love and am very excited about. I have been thinking about poetry a lot lately. I've been thinking about Tennyson, to be exact, but I haven't got any Tennyson here today so for my first installment of FreeVerse, I'm going to fall back on an old favourite of mine: Pablo Neruda. He is as wonderful in English as he is in Spanish... but I digress. I have written about Neruda and poetry in translation before.

I don't know much about reading poetry other than for the sheer joy I get when reading perfect language. So I'm not going to analyze; every Wednesday, I'm just going to pick a poem I love, or a poet I love, and post.

This is Cara's explanation of the "non-meme":

FreeVerse, hosted here [Ooh... Books!] every Wednesday, is supposed to be just that—free. The name, in true poetic style, is supposed to have layers of meaning.

  1. 1. Of course, free verse is a style of poetry, but all styles and forms will be celebrated.
  2. 2. Verse can can be read for free on the web.
  3. 3. Anyone is free to participate . . . or not.
  4. 4. Posts entered into Mr. Linky can be vlog poetry readings, written poetry (by well-known poets or by YOU), reviews of poetry collections, analyses of poems. In short, posts can be anything to celebrate poetry and broaden our readers' exposure to all forms of verse. (Oh, they don't even have to be from that Wednesday. You can post permalinks for any poetry-related posts you want more people to read.)
  5. 5. FreeVerse is also a nod to my love of sci-fi and fantasy. It brings to my mind the ideas expressed by the words universe, omniverse, multiverse, and the like. FreeVerse is all of those things for poetry.


This week, from my edition of Neruda's Odes to Common Things (translated by Ken Krabbenhoft, published by Bulfinch Press in 1994, ISBN 0-8212-2080-2):


Ode to some yellow flowers


Rolling its blues against another blue,
the sea, and against the sky
some yellow flowers.

October is on its way.

And although
the sea may well be important, with its unfolding
myths, its purpose and its risings,
when the gold of a single
yellow plant
explodes
in the sand
your eyes
are bound
to the soil.
They flee the wide sea and its heavings.

We are dust and to dust return.
In the end we're
neither air, nor fire, nor water,
just
dirt,
neither more nor less, just dirt,
and maybe
some yellow flowers.

5 comments:

Cara Powers said...

Oh, that poem is just beautiful. Such a beautiful image. Thanks for introducing me to Neruda. I've never read his poetry before.

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

Love Lord Tennyson but like Cara I've never had chance to read Neruda so thank you. Your blog is lovely I'll come again very soon. All the very best,
Simone

kiirstin said...

Cara - I'm also looking forward to discovering new poets and poems.

Simone - You are welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed the blog, and thank you for stopping by.

Neruda is a master of painting very intimate, personal images with his words. He was a Chilean poet, and is the main reason that I intend to visit Chile some day.

Phyl said...

Oh, how beautiful that is! I have several friends who talk about their love of Neruda, but I rarely actually get to read him. That's a really lovely poem.

Free Verse, eh? Hm.....

kiirstin said...

Phyl - You should do it too! I have decided I don't have enough poetry in my life. I'm hoping this will help. I'm really glad I was able to bring Pablo Neruda to a few more people.