Friday, April 27, 2018

Notes for a commonplace book (22)

Pablo Neruda:
It is very appropriate, at certain times of the day or night, to deeply observe objects at rest: the wheels that have covered long, dusty distances, bearing heavy loads of vegetables or minerals, sacks from the coal yards, barrels, baskets, the handles and grips of the carpenter's tool. The contact of man with the universe exudes from these things a lesson for the tormented poet. The worn surfaces, the wear that hands have inflicted on things, the often tragic and always wistful aura of these objects, lend to reality a fascination not to be taken lightly.

The confused impurity of human beings is displayed in them, the proliferation, materials used and discarded, footprints and fingerprints, the permanent mark of humanity inundating all objects from within and without. That is the kind of poetry we should strive for, worn away as if by acid from the labor of hands, impregnated with sweat and smoke, smelling of urine and lilies, and seasoned by the various professions that operate both within and outside the law.

A poetry impure as old clothes, as a body, with its food stains and shame, with wrinkles, observations, dreams, vigilance, prophecies, declarations of love and hate, beasts, blows, idylls, manifestos, denials, doubts affirmations, taxes.
"On Impure Poetry," as translated by Mark Eisner in his biography Neruda: The Poet's Calling.

No comments: