Skip to main content

Poetry in the Early Morning

What is Born With Me - Pablo Neruda

I sing to the grass that is born with me
in this free moment, to the fermentations
of cheese, of vinegar, to the secret
spurt of the first semen, i sing
to the song of milk which now comes
in rising whiteness to the nipples,
I sing to the fertility of the stable,
to the fresh dung of great cows
from whose aroma fly multitudes
of blue wings, I speak
without any shift of what is happening now
to the bumblebee with its honey, to the lichen
in its soundless germination.
Like an everlasting drum
sounds the flow of succession, the course
from being to being, and I'm born, I'm born, I'm born,
with all that is being born, I'm one
with growing, with the spread silence
of everything that surrounds me, teeming,
propagating itself in the dense damp,
in threads, in tigers, in jelly.

I belong to fruitfulness
and I'll grow while lives grow.
I'm young with the youthfulness of water,
I'm slow with the slowness of time,
I'm pure with the purity of air,
dark with the wine of night,
and I'll only be still when I've become
so mineral that I neither see nor hear,
nor take part in what is born and grows.

When I picked out the jungle
to learn how to be,
leaf by leaf,
I went on with my lessons
and learned to be root, deep clay,
voiceless earth, transparent night,
and beyond that, bit by bit, the whole jungle.

(Trans. Alastair Reed)

Comments

pea said…
incredible poem!!! Should be read at every birth, birthday and funeral. perhaps every morning when waking from the "death of sleep" as you call in. Wonderful, wonderful

Popular posts from this blog

More Moomins

A friend once said that the thing she loved about Japan was that the Japanese loved every season, and made a great effort to celebrate holidays and seasons with specific rituals. As a person who enjoys holidays, and who finds meaning participating in the ritual of the Christian year, I feel a kinship with the Japanese. As humans, we respond to the larger, uncontrollable mysteries of life with stories, with food, with a renewed sense of connection to each other and to the world around us.

It is easy, with the early darkness and the frost on our windshields and the necessity of coats and thicker socks, to complain about the dying of the year and the coming of winter.

Here is a must-read this time of year: Tove Jansson’s Moominvalley in November. Where her other Moomin books have been characterized by happy bohemianism and quirky, midsummer adventures, this book is not afraid to deal with the stark and empty season that comes once a year.

It is raining steadily upon the tall dark trees. D…

Blast-beruffled plumes

I’ve returned to Minnesota to find it transformed into a Brueghel painting.



Our hunters are gone north or even south, wherever there are more deer. This has been a bad year for deer, threatened by the cold of last year’s polar vortex and the high population of coyotes, which now carry a bounty on their heads.

So, while it’s still autumn in England (I’ve been assured), winter has come. The nights are long, the wreaths are out. I’ve been reading restlessly – Robert Walser and GB Shaw. But some nights, Thomas Hardy feels just right for November melancholia. Here’s ‘A Darkling Thrush’:

I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land's sharp features seemed to be
The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
Th…

Cassandra at the Wedding - Dorothy Baker

The perfect airplane read for a person en route to a wedding, this tautly written 1962 novel about a woman falling apart, coming home to her family’s ranch to derail her twin sister’s wedding. That’s the summary – but obviously it’s about so much more: about the nature of love and obsession, about identity and the self.

Cassandra Edwards, named for the doomed wailer at the gates of Troy, is a student at Berkley, an “Existentialist-Zen-Marxist, Freudian branch. Deviation, rather.” The reader is fully aware from the beginning that Cassandra feels antagonistically about the wedding – she anticipates duties of “tak[ing] over the bouquet while [Judith] received the ring, through the nose or on the finger, wherever she chose to receive it…” She purposefully gets the groom’s name wrong. She plans to stage a “last-minute rescue.”

The isolated family ranch the Edwards family as a self-sufficient unit – emotionally and intellectually. Her alcoholic father, a retired skeptical philosopher who act…