Wednesday, January 14, 2009

a poem and some cuteness

My mother recently gave me a book of poetry by Pablo Neruda called Winter Garden. It was an unpublished collection found on his desk after his death. I was thumbing through it on the plane ride home, and must have read this one four or five times before turning the page. I love it, though have no words to say why...

The Egoist

Nobody is missing from the garden. Nobody is here:
only the green and black winter, the day
waking from sleep like a ghost,
a white phantom in cold garments
climbing the steps of a castle. It's an hour
when no one should arrive. Just a few drops
of chilly dew keep falling
from the bare branches of winter
and you and I in this circle of solitude,
invincible and alone, waiting
for no one to arrive, no, nobody will come
with a smile or a medal or a budget
to make us an offer or ask us anything.

This is the hour
of fallen leaves, their dust
scattered over the earth, when
they return to the depths of being and not being
and abandon the gold and the greenery,
until they are roots again,
and again, torn down and being born,
they rise up to know the spring.

Oh heart lost
inside me, in this man's essence,
what bountiful change inhabits you!
I am not the culprit
who has fled or turned himself in:
misery could not exhaust me!
Your own happiness can grow bitter
if you kiss it every day,
and there is no way of freeing oneself
from the sunlight except to die.

What can I do if the star chose me
to flash with lightning, and if the thorn
guided me to the pain of so many others?
What can I do if every movement
of my hand brought me closer to the rose?
Should I beg forgiveness for this winter,
the most distant, the most unattainable
for that man who used to seek out the chill
without anyone suffering because of his happiness?

And if somewhere on those roads
--distant France, numerals of fog--
I return to the extent of my life:
a lonely garden, a poor district,
and suddenly this day equal to all others
descends the stairs that do not exist
dressed in irresistible purity,
and there is the odor of sharp solitude,
of humidity, of water, of being born again:
what can I do if I breathe my own air,
why will I feel wounded to death?

Being home has been wonderful. My sister Colleen also flew in from Portland, so there has been lots of much needed quality family time. Tonight I was able to hang out with all three of my nieces, and my sisters new puppy. The cuteness of it all was almost unbearable.

I already know I'm going to be one of those dads who carries pictures of his kids with him and shows them to everyone he knows, all the time.


katie said...

Oh, your neices are adorable! Coincidentally, I also had a cool Uncle Steve who I still have a great relationship with, and who is(as you will also be one day) a great dad too :) I'm really glad you got to go home, it looks like you're living it up :)

c. said...

Neruda, so wonderful. And Steve, your nieces are so cute, so unbelievably cute.

I can totally see you as one of those dads who carry around pictures of your kids.

Glad you are having a good NY visit.

See you soon.