Monday, July 12, 2010

"I will have poetry in my life. And adventure. And love. Love above all." *

Thanks to The Writer's Almanac, I learned that today is the birthday of one of my favorite poets, Pablo Neruda.

I first heard of Sr. Neruda when I saw the film Il Postino (The Postman) the summer before my senior year of college. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy the film, but I loved the music. I purchased the soundtrack on CD before I went back to school. The soundtrack included not only the Oscar-winning score of the film, but readings of Neruda's poetry by actors. Now it is one thing to read poetry, and quite another to hear it read out loud. In a short time, I became hooked on Neruda.

Turns out Neruda also wrote a poem that is featured in one of the more moving films that I saw in college, Truly, Madly, Deeply (and if you haven't seen this yet, dear reader, I highly recommend watching, with a box of Kleenex.) There is a clip from the movie on You Tube of Alan Rickman and Juliet Stevenson reciting one of Neruda's poems. It is one of the most beautiful and emotional parts of the film, and Alan Rickman speaking Spanish poetry just leaves me on the floor in a big puddle of goo.

Here is one of Neruda's poems that is featured on the Il Postino soundtrack:

Fable of the Mermaid and the Drunks

All these fellows were there inside when she entered utterly naked.
They΄d been drinking and began to spit at her.
Recently come from the river, she understood nothing.
She was a mermaid who had lost her way,
the taunts flowed over her glistening flesh
Obscenities drenched her golden breasts.

A stranger to tears, she did not weep,
A stranger to clothes, she did not dress.
They pocked her with cigarette ends and with burnt corks
And rolled on the tavern floor in raucous laughter
She did not speak, since speech was unknown to her
Her eyes were the color of far away love
Her arms were matching topazes
Her lips moved soundlessly in coral light
And ultimately she left by that door
Hardly had she entered the river than she was cleansed
Gleaming once more like a white stone in the rain
And without a backward look, she swam once more
Swam towards nothingness, swam to her dawn.

* In case it is driving you nuts (as it would me), the title of this post is a line from Shakespeare in Love.

1 comment:

  1. Mmmmmm...I adore Neruda! My copy of his love sonnets saw me through many college heartbreaks. Il Postino has been on my Netflix queue for ages; perhaps I should bump it up to the top...

    LOVE your post title, too!



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