Friday, November 23, 2012

Poetry Friday: Pablo Neruda and Coldplay, Together at Last

I like to read and write Odes around Thanksgiving (here's last year's), so for today, the day after Thanksgiving:


Ode to Laziness
by Pablo Neruda
translated by W.S. Merwin

Yesterday it seemed
the ode wouldn't leave the ground.
It was time, it should
at least show a green leaf.
I scratched the earth, 'Get up,
sister ode
- I said to her -
I've promised you,
don't be afraid of me,
I'm not going to chew you up,
ode with four leaves,
ode for four hands,
you'll take tea with me.
Rise,
I'll crown you among the odes,
we'll go out along the shore
of the sea, on a bicycle.'
No use.

Then
high up in the pines
laziness
appeared naked,
I got up in a daze,
half asleep,
on the sand I found
little broken fragments
of oceanic substances,
wood, seaweed, shells,
feathers of sea birds.
I looked for yellow
agates but found none.

The sea
filled the spaces,
wearing away towers,
invading
the coasts of my homeland,
pushing forward
successive catastrophes of foam,
Alone on the sand
a ray opened
a ring of petals.
I saw the silvered petrels
pass, and like black crosses
the cormorants
nailed to the rocks.
I set free
a bee dying in a spider's web,
I put a little stone
in my pocket,
it was smooth, very smooth,
like a bird's egg,
meanwhile on the coast
all afternoon
the sunlight and cloud wrestled.
Sometimes
the cloud was filled
with light
like a topaz,
other times a moist
ray of sunlight fell,
and yellow drops fell after it.

At night
thinking of the duties of my
fugitive ode,
I took off my shoes by the fire,
poured the sand out of them
and almost at once fell
sound asleep.

Somehow the combination of the ocean and yellow and the fugitive ode and the somewhat melancholy mood that is on me today made me think of this song.  I wonder if Coldplay and Pablo Neruda have been combined before.





Here's today's Poetry Friday roundup.

8 comments:

Linda at teacherdance said...

It's interesting to see that you think the Neruda words might be melancholy, but when I read & re-read, I feel I am slightly on the other side with the poet being more tongue-in-cheek, no matter what happens. It's a quiet poem isn't it? Thanks Ruth.

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

Now that's a first! Neruda and Coldplay! Who would've thought? I love it! :) Reading a Neruda ode always makes my heart skip a beat.

Ruth said...

Linda, it was the Coldplay song that struck me as melancholy. :-)

Mary Lee said...

I did take your advice for the rest of the day yesterday, and it felt GREAT! However, as soon as I zip back through the roundup with comments, I will start grading that pile of pre-assessements!!

Liz Steinglass said...

'Get up,
sister ode
- I said to her -

I love the closeness here, combined with the recalcitrance.

You have intrigued me. I will be looking at odes next too.

Happy holidays,
Liz

Tabatha said...

I was going to paste the same lines Liz did -- love cajoling the ode a little ;-) Thanks for the song, too, Ruth.

Diane Mayr said...

A winning combination, Ruth!

Author Amok said...

Hi, Ruth. There are so many wonderful images in this poem. I love telling elementary schoolers that Neruda wrote and ode to laziness, but it's not at all the poem you'd expect from the title. LOVE Coldplay.