Ode to Neruda

Ode to Neruda ode

Ode to Pablo Neruda

There are poets

of the day, the sun, the stones,

in whose words, the world is a caged bird,

that has forgotten its wings.

They repeatedly tell us facts

that we just can’t refute.

And there are poets

of the night, the moon, the water,

in whose words, the world is a dream.

Their worlds last, till the sleep lasts.

But, you are neither.

There are poets

who sing to the glory of the world,

to the god inside every beast.

They build a temple around things and worship

with flowers, with flames.

And there are poets

who spit at the world, who reduce things

to who they are.

They build a tomb around themselves

and don’t let anyone enter.

But, you are neither.

you make love.

You make love, to tomatoes, to onions,

you make love, to shirts, to chairs,

you make love, to bread, to the dead,

you make love, to whores, to morning light,

to piss-drenched streets, to peaks that kiss the sky,

to the sea, to the sea, to the sea, you make love.

For this reason, in your hand,

a fistful of sand turned into seashells

and you spread them across the shore.

For this reason, in your hand,

rotten eggs smelt like roses,

the whores became goddesses

and the rhythm of the hips

became the rhythm of the universe.

For this reason, in your hand,

surrendered wheat, salt, hot iron,

hyacinths and Matilde.

You were a poet of senses

and you had nothing to tell the world

except hunger and thirst.

For this reason, the poor lay claim to you,

they say that you just say the same things

they say, in your words.

For this reason, the dictators forgot

their warring enemies and chased you

because your words fell not as a bomb

or a sword, but as a seed on this earth,

and from every seed, rose thousand soldiers

like thousand pomegranates and their hearts were red.

For this reason, I love you

more than the sky, the women.

You wrote, you always wrote,

with your nose buried in the earth,

till one day you entered it.

Now, you are among things you loved the most,

the crude soil, the harsh stone, worms,

murmur of earth, potatoes and fellow poets.

But the sea works in your silence,

the sea works your silence.

Let other poets work hard at becoming themselves.

I only want to be you.

I only want to read you, again and again,

till I am drunk with your rhythm,

till one night, I sit down

and write the saddest lines.

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Balaji Gopalan

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I owe all of my poetry to the influence of Pablo Neruda. Reading him 10 years ago on the beaches of Goa, gave me the permission to be who I am and write what I feel. My poetry has never been the same after that. All that I write is an offering to Neruda.
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This one is for all the Neruda fans out there, like me..the essence of his writing, the earthiness, the honesty beautifully captured. The poem has a rythmic beat much similar to the poet it is inspired by…@Balaji do keep sharing your work with us, this one is sheer pleasure!

Chandrama Deshmukh

Ah! Pablo Neruda.
“I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You”
You take me back to the days when I read this poem aloud 🙂
I love the way you have written this poem @Balaji


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