Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pablo Neruda, "The Sand Betrayed," Canto General

The Indian fled from his skin to
the depths of ancient immensity from which
he rose one day like the islands: defeated,
he turned into invisible atmosphere,
kept expanding in the earth, pouring
his secret sign over the sand.


  1. Ezra Pound, "LXXXI," The Cantos:

    To have gathered from the air a live tradition
    or from a fine old eye the unconquered flame
    This is not vanity.
    Here error is all in the not done,
    all in the diffidence that faltered . . .

  2. Neruda, 1949 speech at the Continental Peace Congress in Mexico City: "When Fadeyev said that if hyenas could handle the pen or the typewriter they would write like the poet T.S. Eliot or the novelist Jean-Paul Sartre, I think he was insulting the animal kingdom..."

  3. Derek Walcott, "For Pablo Neruda:"

    I am not walking on sand,
    but I feel I am walking on sand,
    the poem is accompanying me on the sand,
    We remember not man but his metaphor.
    Fungus lacing the rock,
    on the ribs, mould. Moss
    feathering the mute roar
    of the staved-in throat,
    the prose of somebody somebody
    said, grounded, like un coche ensable,
    probably in Ulysses, Stephen walking
    over the brittle currag shells,
    what loops of the imagination
    and your voice growing hoarser
    that the chafed Pacific, your voice
    falling soundless as snow on
    the petrified Andes, the snow,
    a million small feathers from
    the tilting rudderless condors,
    emissary in a black suit who
    walks among eagles, hand whose
    five knuckled peninsulas
    bar the breaking ocean . . .
    all of us are netted to a rock
    in an old word, in a new word,
    brotherhood, word which arrests
    the crests of the longrunning ocean
    in a flash to snow-blowing sierras,
    the round fish mouths of the children,
    the word, cantan.

  4. Miguel Angel Asturias, "Neruda Alive:"

    forever, giving the world
    his seagulls over the ocean-foam.

  5. Ishmael Reed, "Poem Delivered Before Assembly Of Colored People Held At Glide Memorial Church, Oct. 4, 1973 And Called To Protest Recent Events In The Sovereign Republic of Chile:"

    In the winter of 1966 Pablo Neruda
    Lifted 195 lbs of ragged scrawls
    That wanted to be a poet and put
    Me in the picture where we stood
    Laughing like school chums

    No little man ever lifted me like that

    Pablo Neruda was a big man
    It is impossible for me to believe that
    Cancer could waste him
    He was filled with barrel-chested poetry
    From stocky head to feet and
    Had no need for mortal organs
    The cancer wasn't inside of Pablo Neruda
    Cancer won't go near poetry
    The cancer was inside ITT
    The Cancer God with the
    Nose of President Waterbugger
    The tight-Baptist lips of John Foster Dulles
    And the fleshy Q Ball head of
    Melvin Laird
    Dick Tracy's last victim

    The Cancer God with the body
    Of the rat-sucking Indian Plague Flea
    All creepy transparent and hunched up
    Stalks the South American copper
    Country with its pet anaconda
    It breathes and hollars like
    All the Japanese sci fi monsters
    Rolled into one: Hogzilla
    Its excrescency supply the Portuguese
    With napalm

    The Cancer God is a bully who mooches up
    Rational gentle and humanistic men
    But when it picked a fight with the poet
    It got all the cobalt-blue words it could use
    And reels about holding in its insides

    Do something about my wounded mother
    Says President Waterbugger
    Shambling across the San Clemente beach
    Whose sand is skulls grinded
    Do something about my wounded mother
    Says the slobbering tacky thing
    Pausing long enough from his hobby
    Ripping-off the eggs of the world
    Their albumen ozzing down his American
    Flag lapel, his bareassed elephant
    Gyrating its dung-wings
    Give her all of South America if she wants it
    And if she makes a mess
    Get somebody to clean it up
    Somebody dumb

    A colonel who holds his inaugural address
    Upside down and sports
    Mix matched socks

    And if they can't stomach their
    New leaders' uglysucker French
    Angel faces then cover them up with
    A uniform or hid its Most Disgusting
    In a tank
    Cover it up like they want to cover
    Me up those pitiful eyes gazing from
    The palm tree freeway of the Dead War

    President Waterbugger your crimes
    Will not leave office
    No imperial plastic surgeon can
    Remove them from your face
    They enter the bedroom of your
    Hacienda at night and rob you
    Of your sleep
    They call out your name

    President Waterbugger
    Next to you Hitler resembles
    A kindergarten aide
    Who only wanted to raise some geese
    And cried when listening to
    Dietrich Ficher-Dieskau
    Everything you put your paws on
    Becomes all crummy and yukky
    In New Jersey the mob cries for Jumboburgers
    In Florida the old people are stealing Vitamin E

    President Waterbugger only your crimes
    Want to be near you now
    Your daughters have moved out of town
    Your wife refuses to hold your hand
    On the elevator
    Inexplicably, Lincoln's picture
    Just fell from the wall
    Next time you kill a poet
    You'd better read his poems first
    Or they will rise up and surround you
    Like 1945 fire cannons a few miles from
    And History will find no trace of
    Your ashes in the bunker of your hell

  6. Neruda: "Ah más allá de todo. Ah más allá de todo."

  7. Nathaniel Tarn, “At Gloucester, Mass., After Foreign Travel; For P.N.”

    At Gloucester, Mass., after foreign travel,
    Labor Day mists
    the lovely breath of one more summer dying out
    the sea
    swelled contrapuntally as we swam
    and a smell of old furniture came up from the water
    into the dusting sunlight

    As if all the woods that had gone down into the sea
    surfaced to farewell summer
    the boats crossed and crisscrossed over the drowned
    and the great feast of work
    crimson with lobster shells, stubbed toes and girls’ bandannas
    set round the pink of nipples
    in loose red shirts / O flag of love over America the damned!

    We went down to the sea
    all the poets together
    and gave ourselves up to the waters
    in various positions of loss:
    I realized that I have never dived into water
    and within five minutes
    after giving myself completely to the wave
    I did about ten things
    never done in my life before
    such as: throwing my body like a javelin into the waves
    spreading myself like a banner on the swell
    somersaulting in the deep
    holding the sand’s things in my hands
    and all the fear was gone

    We had spent the whole day looking for loons and grasses
    old Dogtown had risen for us from the ground
    and Olsen’s floor and windowboards full of dates
    had defied the policy on National Monuments –
    white building slats among the red stripes
    the stars of my Union Jack

    exclusive to the night:

    and she seen rightly
    had no need to be touched
    she seen rightly
    became a thousand faces one after another
    seen rightly
    there was no face the world could take on which was not her face
    and a golden aura
    red with cheap scents raved round her hair.
    Oh the hands that went out
    the bodies that moved out towards her on our belief
    Labor-Day, Gloucester, Mass.,
    oh the copulations that took place towards her on the arrow of sight
    drawing no flesh at all
    out of its sheathing!

    The America he dreamed never existed,
    cause of lost causes –
    but dreamed it with the throat of need
    the passionate thirst of a tramp
    sweat on his whiskers.
    And she in whose hands lies my life
    brings her creased eyes to town

    brings her body like a banner
    she said she could not use
    advertising ships, and land, and whispers among hutments,
    and “today,” she said, “today,”
    “tears of blood coming out of the ground
    at what has become of this Republic
    which was to be the laughter of the world!”

    If it be true / that this polity
    has killed Allende for instance / has killed Neruda
    if it be true that Spain is being repeated – billed to this polity –
    then the devices of the world of ice
    the hanging in the maws of the old windmill the great Giver devised
    shall be but as childsplay to what awaits
    our shabby emperor in his greasy feathers
    encore une fois l’refrain

    Swallow on the air
    mackerel in the sky
    mackerel in the water
    swallows on the sea
    stitching silver to silver
    in the heart’s water:
    I am so glad to be home!

    I have laid up in a world of words
    for the immortal gods of this Republic
    that all the 50 stars might sing in unison together!
    Our moods of love
    as they will seize and shake us all our lives
    wood rising from the sea, trees soaring on first shores –

    the Adam-hut, its ghost
    I am so glad to be home!