Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dog Days of August and Neruda's Poetry Come with Me

Dog Day Moon
This last week we had a full moon.  I was able to capture a photo of it as it came up on the south eastern horizon.  It was amazingly bright and large.  I have written about this phenomena before on a blog.  In case you missed that it is caused by something called Moon Illusion.  There is a great explanation of the why of this Science NASA site.
This month's moon is known as Dog Day Moon (my favourite name), Harvest Moon, Fruit Moon, Women's Moon, Moon When All Things Ripen, Dispute Moon, Corn Moon or Lightning Moon - depending on where you come from.  Interestingly, August is Harvest Moon for the Chinese but the September Moon is the Harvest Moon of Neo Pagan Times - I guess they occupied a higher latitude.  LOL

The Canadian National Exhibition - Aug  20th through Sept 6th

The start of the end of summer, for me, has always been marked by an annual Toronto event called simply the CNE.

According to the web site page giving the history of the "X" as we Torontonians call it:
The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) or The Ex as it is affectionately called, is Canada’s largest annual community event. Taking place over the 18 days leading up to and including Labour Day, the CNE offers a wide variety of entertainment and events, midway rides and games, a working farm, parades and sports, international food and shopping, Kids’ World, and a three-day air show. Over the course of its late summer run, the CNE attracts approximately 1.3 million people each year. 
The CNE has been an annual Toronto event, hosted on a 192 acre site just south of my condo building here in Liberty Village, since 1879!  132 years!.  It is North America's 5th largest fair and a blast from the past of many of my contemporaries. An annual trip to the "X" was absolutely mandatory in my growing up years.  The Food Building was the place to go as you could get all sorts of free samples of food.  That was of course before we had things like Paramount Canada's Wonderland which runs from May until October each year.

 I have a great view of the grounds of the CNE from my balcony and the lights of the midway at night are spectacular!

More Pablo Neruda Poetry
After looking over the list of blogs I have written this year, it seems I am giving poetry a major portion of the white space. Those who follow my blog know that I am very taken by his poetry as there are now more than a dozen of his featured in the blog postings.

My last Neruda post I commented that I had ordered a copy of The Captain's Verses. Since then I have also received a copy of his Memoirs. One more item in my ever growing book pile. I do need to find some serious reading time but I am afraid that is not going to be any time soon. More on that topic in my next blog.

I have chatted about the Captain's Verses in a previous blog. Suffice to say that I am still picking up that volume and enjoying the poems. Perhaps I will blog about one of those another day - it is not today's selection. I am more excited about reading his Memoir which arrived in my mailbox yesterday.

The memoir was written in the last three days of his life then compiled and edited by his wife Matilde and published in 1974.   He had been admitted to hospital suffering from the final stages of prostrate cancer then died of a heart attack in his weakened state. The book is 350 pages long. I can't imagine someone writing a Memoir in so short a time, I am sure a lot of credit is due to his beloved wife for polishing the work.

I have just started to read this book, but given what all is going on in my life it may take me a while to finish it. I am particularly looking forward to reading the chapter "Poetry is an Occupation".  There are chapters of his memoirs which provide a chronicle of his life and travels and these seem to be organized along a timeline, but not this chapter.  I am thinking that this chapter might provide some insight into the prolific and incredible skill Neruda has with conveying meaning through poetic words.  This book will be a treat to read.

Matilde published a book herself before she died -- "My life with Pablo Neruda" (1986). I guess that goes on my must have list but I shall try not to buy that until I am able to catch up a bit.

The poem I have chosen to share today is Sonnet 82 in Pablo Neruda's 100 Love Sonnets (1960) aka Come With Me.  Neruda's images continue to captivate me -- "only a wound that love had opened"... "the moon that bled in my mouth"..."the star that has such thorns"... these lines lead us to the theme, that love is (as the saying goes) a double edged sword.  We make ourselves vulnerable to hurt when we love.   To declare love is to open oneself to be hurt... but when it is responded to in kind "when I heard your voice repeat Come with me"... "I felt a taste of fire again"   When we discover that we not only love but are loved by the object of our affection then we feel heaven move.

Come With Me

Come with me, I said, and no one knew

where, or how my pain throbbed,

no carnations or barcaroles for me,

only a wound that love had opened.

I said it again: Come with me, as if I were dying,

and no one saw the moon that bled in my mouth

or the blood that rose into the silence.

O Love, now we can forget the star that has such thorns!

That is why when I heard your voice repeat

Come with me, it was as if you had let loose

the grief, the love, the fury of a cork-trapped wine

the geysers flooding from deep in its vault:

in my mouth I felt the taste of fire again,

of blood and carnations, of rock and scald.


  1. It is fascinating to think about the full moon, Peggy, in the sense of you watching it in Canada and me watching it in America at virtually the same time.

    The same night you took your photograph, I was talking to my son who was driving along an interstate highway near Rapid City, South Dakota. I was looking at the full moon, and asked him if he was at that moment, too. He was.

    For a while, I used to measure the length of time it took for the full moon to "travel from" Poland to me in the middle of America.

    I recall being aboard a ship once, and wondering if a woman a thousand miles away had seen the full moon that night or would see it.

    The moon can be a link between people, I think.

  2. Yes, I agree - nice to think about being connected by the moon. I watch the moon a lot. I took another picture about an hour ago. It was 3/4 of an orange ball. Just now it is at 11:00 position with the CN Tower being the hand of the clock pointed at 12:00. I wonder if you are looking at it now.

    I have never thought about the moon travelling to or from someone else's sight - an interesting thought. I guess I have never felt linked to someone who lived that far away.

    Thanks for your comments Fram. Nice to hear from you.

  3. I'm a little behind in reading and commenting on blog posts. I saw and admired the full moon, too. I agree with you that the moon was very bright and big. The CNE sounds like a terrific way to end the summer.

  4. And me watching the same full moon in London, Fram and Peggy. Thanks for the explanation as to why it was so distinctive. Yes, it had a different aura to it.

    The photos were great and Neruda... well, need I say more? All I can add is that nothing beats reading the Great Poet in Spanish. Believe me. :-)

    Greetings from London.


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