Saturday, July 4, 2009

This Is Where We Live

THIS IS WHERE WE LIVE - Pablo Neruda

I am one of those that live
in the middle of the sea and close to the twilight
a little beyond those stones.

When I came
and saw what was happening
I decided on the spot.

The day had spread itself
and everything was light
and the sea was beating
like a salty lion,
many-handed.

All that deserted space was singing
and I, lost and awed,
looking toward the silence,
opened my mouth and said:
"Mother of the foam,
expansive solitude,
here I will begin my own rejoicing,
my particular poetry."

From then on I was never
let down by a single wave.
I always found the flavour of the sky
in the water, in the earth,
and the wood and the sea burned together
through the lonely winters.

I am grateful to the earth
for having waited
for me
when sky and sea came together
like two lips touching;
for that's no small thing, no? -
to have lived
through one solitude to arrive at another,
to feel oneself many things and recover wholeness.

I love all the things there are,
and of all fires
love is the only inexhaustible one;
and that's why I go from life to life,
from guitar to guitar,
and I have no fear
of light or of shade
and almost being earth myself,
I spoon away at infinity.

So no one can ever fail
to find my doorless numberless house -
there between dark stones,
facing the flash
of the violent salt,
there we live, my woman and I,
there we take root,
Grant us help then.
Help us to be more of the earth each day!
Help us to be
more the sacred foam,
more the swish of the wave!

.

11 comments:

Dan Gurney said...

Hi Alden--

Lovely poem. I especially like the lines,

"to have lived
through one solitude to arrive at another,
to feel oneself many things and recover wholeness."

It's good to hear from you. Have you retired from the classroom now?

Alden Smith (Nick name - Pal) said...

Dan, thanks for your comment. Yes I have officially retired after 35 years continuous teaching and had a lovely farewell at my old school yesterday. I will reflect on all that and blog about it soon.

Yes I like the line about wholeness, it is Jungian isn't it -the growth towards wholeness- individuation.

The Jungian concept of wholeness is interesting, being based on the idea that we are born with this wholeness already within us, wholeness not being an additive process but rather an unfolding of that which already exists within us.

Delwyn said...

Hi retired one...

this is the perfect poem for an old sea dog...

I hope that you have many adventures rejoicing - writing your own poetry on the sky...

Happy days

Alden Smith (Nick name - Pal) said...

Hi Delwyn,

You are right and I shall. :-)

Janice said...

Having nothing to do with anything in particular, I like this poem, and I think you might too. It has a wonderful cadence to it, and a little cynicism to counteract the sweetness of Pablo Naruda

Salome's Dancing-Lesson

She that begs a little boon
(Heel and toe! Heel and toe!)
Little gets- and nothing, soon.
(No, no, no! No, no, no!)
She that calls for costly things
Priceless finds her offerings-
What's impossible to kings?
(Heel and toe! Heel and toe!)

Kings are shaped as other men.
(Step and turn! Step and turn!)
Ask what none may ask again.
(Will you learn? Will you learn?)
Lovers whine, and kisses pall,
Jewels tarnish, kingdoms fall-
Death's the rarest prize of all!
(Step and turn! Step and turn!)

Veils are woven to be dropped.
(One, two, three! One, two, three!)
Aging eyes are slowest stopped.
(Quietly! Quietly!)
She whose body's young and cool
Has no need of dancing-school-
Scratch a king and find a fool!
(One, two, three! One, two, three!)

Dorothy Parker

Alden Smith (Nick name - Pal) said...

Janice, Salome did indeed "scratch a king" who promised to give her anything she wanted on her birthday and as we all know she asked for the head of John the Baptist on a platter and duely got her way - I guess the claimed historical story is a metaphor and timely reminder for all fathers and daughters and for all people in terms of what we promise to others - at some stage someone will call in the promise.

Janice said...

Thank you, mighty learned one! Imagine me not knowing that story, and me married to an Anglican minister! Here I thought this poem was about a aging woman who is somewhat bitter about life, and men! Thank you for teaching me!

Grasshopper

Alden Smith (Nick name - Pal) said...

That is quite alright honourable Grasshopper.

While I reflect on the sound of one hand clapping, to you I give this Autumn Haiku as a meditation. It was given to me by my friend the venerable Cricket.

"CHANTING AT THE ALTAR
OF THE INNER
SANTUARY....
A CRICKET PRIEST" - Issa

J said...

Thank you, teacher! Oddly enough, my second grandchild has just been born, and her name is Autumn. I shall reflect on this haiku to see how it might relate to my life, and to hers.

Alden, do you know about Bishop John Spong? We spent a week with him in June at the Anglican church centre in Sorrento (BC); I think you might find him interesting; I love what he had to say, and I'm sending the link to his newsletter;
http://us.mg2.mail.yahoo.com/dc/launch?.gx=0&.rand=4i2vnd8dmi1b0

Alden Smith (Nick name - Pal) said...

Janice congratulations on being a grandmother again thats lovely!

Yes I have heard of Bishop John Spong - and I have heard that many fundamentalist Christian would like to lynch him (metaphorically of course) - so thankyou for the link.

Haiku is an interesting form of poetry and I am going to blog about it some time soon.

Janice said...

As he sails away
On a sea of gentle words
Grasshopper listens

by me. I love writing haiku.