Thursday, April 1, 2010

Poetry by Pablo Neruda 20 Poems of Despair - Poem XV

I have written about Pablo Neruda and his poetry in blogs several times this year.  I am entranced by his poetry - he simply is my most favourite poet.    Go here to read my previous blog which talks about Neruda the man and his life.   Go here to read about Luciana Souza and her music - she has included some of Neruda's poems set to music on her album

I have to confess, I did splurge and purchase several books of poetry by Neruda.  The most exquisite of the lot is titled "Intimacies" and features paintings by Mary Heebner to accompany the translations by Alastair Reid.  Best of all is the insights into his poetry gained from reading the translators introductions and notes relating to various poems.  The Spanish and English language translations are presented side by side. Maybe one day I will be able to appreciate the originals in Spanish.

I have also now a copy of the 1994 Italian language romantic comedy film "Il Postino The Postman", From Wiki:
The film tells a fictional story in which the real life Chilean poet Pablo Neruda forms a relationship with a simple postman who learns to love poetry.
I haven't watched it yet.  I am saving it to watch with a special someone who might appreciate poetry and won't mind watching a dated romantic comedy.  Some day maybe I will meet that person - or I will just get impatient and watch it by myself.  LOL

I have have ordered a copy of the companion music CD which Miramax published "The Postman (Il Postino): Music From The Miramax Motion Picture", which besides the film's score, composed by Luis Enríquez Bacalov, includes Neruda's poems recited by Sting, Miranda Richardson, Wesley Snipes, Ralph Fiennes, Ethan Hawke, Rufus Sewell, Glenn Close, Samuel L. Jackson, Andy Garcia, Willem Dafoe, Madonna, Vincent Perez, and Julia Roberts. It is on a back order list at Amazon and I have been waiting impatiently to hear that it is on its way.  The resellers are asking upwards of $95 for the CD, so I guess I just have to wait until the record company gets enough demand to produce another run.

In my Valentine's Blog  (here) I featured one of the Poems from this CD recited by  Andy Garcia, "Tonight I can Write the Saddest Lines".

That is a long lead in to my blog today.

Today is April the 1st,  the first day of Poetry Month.

For the month of April I am going to include one of Neruda's poems each week.  

Neruda wrote thousands of poems in his lifetime only some of which are love poems. When you read about his life and his loves it is clear that his love of Matilde Urrutia was the most intense and long lived love. Neruda met Matilde, a Chilean singer, when she was hired in 1949 to care for him after a serious bout of phlebitis. They began an affair that would, years later, culminate in marriage.

His collection, 20 Love Poems and a Song of Despair was published in 1924 when Neruda was just in his 20s. Clearly he was a man of deep emotion and a master with words from a young age. Over 34 years later, 100 Love Sonnets, dedicated to Matilde Urrutia, was published. He began living with her in 1955 after separating from his wife of 18 years. Eventually they married (she was his 3rd wife) and lived together, deeply in love until his death in 1973.  The 100 Sonnets shine in their simplicity, earthiness and sensuality.  Reading those sonnets one can understand the depth of  love, passion and and also affection he had for Matilde.

Today's poem is one from the CD which is recited by Glenn Close.  It is Poem XV from Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair.

I very much enjoy reading the poem - the words he chooses are so grounded and simple.   This sonnet conveys a a different aspect of love -an emotion like quiet  embers on a fire,  confident, patience and acceptance, ready to flare up with passion when called for.    Listening to this particulr recitation makes me appreciate his words even more.  It is well suited with Glenn's calm voice projecting so much love in each of the lines, expectant and secure, even in the stillness of the day, even when love is far away. 

My favourite part:
And you hear me from far away
And my voice does not reach you
Let me come to be still in your silence
And let me talk to you with your silence
That is bright as a lamp
Deep love can exist in silent happiness - in love even in silence and at a distance.

 Glenn Close reads the poem 'I Like For You To Be Still' by Pablo Neruda:

I like for you to be still
It is as though you are absent
And you hear me from far away
And my voice does not touch you
It seems as though your eyes had flown away
And it seems that a kiss had sealed your mouth
As all things are filled with my soul
You emerge from the things
Filled with my soul
You are like my soul
A butterfly of dream
And you are like the word: Melancholy

I like for you to be still
And you seem far away
It sounds as though you are lamenting
A butterfly cooing like a dove
And you hear me from far away
And my voice does not reach you
Let me come to be still in your silence
And let me talk to you with your silence
That is bright as a lamp
Simple, as a ring
You are like the night
With its stillness and constellations
Your silence is that of a star
As remote and candid

I like for you to be still
It is as though you are absent
Distant and full of sorrow
So you would've died
One word then, One smile is enough
And I'm happy;
Happy that it's not true

The image above is Dese'Rae Stage's tattoo from
The Tattooed Poets Project  Go here to read more about Tattoo Poets

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