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Ode to Tomatoes
by
Pablo Neruda


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The street
filled with tomatoes,
midday,
summer,
light is
halved
like
a
tomato,
its juice
runs
through the streets.
In December,
unabated,
the tomato
invades
the kitchen,
it enters at lunchtime,
takes
its ease
on countertops,
among glasses,
butter dishes,
blue saltcellars.
It sheds
its own light,
benign majesty.
Unfortunately, we must
murder it:
the knife
sinks
into living flesh,
red
viscera,
a cool
sun,
profound,
inexhaustible,
populates the salads
of Chile,
happily, it is wed
to the clear onion,
and to celebrate the union
we
pour
oil,
essential
child of the olive,
onto its halved hemispheres,
pepper
adds
its fragrance,
salt, its magnetism;
it is the wedding
of the day,
parsley
hoists
its flag,
potatoes
bubble vigorously,
the aroma
of the roast
knocks
at the door,
it's time!
come on!
and, on
the table, at the midpoint
of sumer,
the tomato,
star of earth,
recurrent
and fertile
star,
displays
its convolutions,
its canals,
its remarkable amplitude
and abundance,
no pit,
no husk,
no leaves or thorns,
the tomato offers
its gift
or fiery color
and cool completeness.



This poem is believed to be in the public domain.
Translation believed to be by Margaret Sayers Peden.


 

Pablo Neruda (1904 – 1973), born in Chile as Ricardo Eliezer Neftali Reyes y Basoalto, wrote his first poem at the age of ten and achieved notoriety and publication while still in his teens. He originally planned to be a teacher, but found higher education uninspiring. Instead, he served in a variety of diplomatic positions and wrote poetry—lots of it. An avowed Communist (the Chilean Communist party actually nominated him for president in 1971), much of Neruda’s work was political in nature, but he is primarily remembered for his love poems. He was awarded the 1971 Nobel Prize for Literature.


Post New Comment:
Jancan:
Lively use of metaphor and personification in this excellent tribute to the tomato
Posted 07/16/2019 09:40 AM
michael escoubas:
WOW!!Lots of juice in Neruda's "mater"! Going now to check mine on the vine.
Posted 07/15/2019 04:20 PM
Glen Sorestad:
After this, what more can be said about the tomato?
Posted 07/15/2019 10:46 AM
joecot:
Mmm-mmm.
Posted 07/15/2019 10:11 AM
finney@charter.net:
Larry, yes, what you said...exactly!!!
Posted 07/15/2019 10:09 AM
Larry Schug:
Neruda was (is)so magnificent a poet that his words make me want to tear out my hair, burn my notebooks, make kindling of my pencils. He also makes me want to write poems. Thank you for this, Jayne.
Posted 07/15/2019 07:35 AM


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