POETRY - PABLO NERUDA
Here are several poems by Pablo Neruda, one of my favorite poets. I selected the following poems since they are related to clothing. Clothing can certainly be taken as something superficial and frivolous, but so can everything else in life. It depends on one's attitude.
Clothing (not necessarily fashion), an every day thing can also be viewed and experienced as poetry, with emotion and wonder. The following poems may clear a way for thinking about clothing, as well as any other every day thing and occurrence in a different light. Maybe sacred really lies in the ordinary. Perhaps superficial can be taken to a different level.
ODE TO A PAIR OF SOCKS Maru Mori brought me a pair of socks that she knit with her shepherd's hands. Two socks as soft as rabbit fur. I thrust my feet inside them as if they were two little boxes knit from threads of sunset and sheepskin. My feet were two woolen fish in those outrageous socks two gangly, navy- blue sharks impaled on a golden thread, two giant blackbirds, two cannons: thus were my feet honored by those heavenly socks. They were so beautiful I found my feet unlovable for the firs time, like two crust old firemen, firemen unworthy of that embroidered fire, those incandescent socks. Nevertheless I fought the sharp temptation to put them away the way schoolboys put fireflies in a bottle, the way scholars hoard holy writ. I fought the mad urge to lock them in a golden cage and feed them birdseed and morsels of pink melon every day. Like jungle explorers who deliver a young deer of the rarest species to the roasting spit than wolf it down in shame I stretched my feet forward and pulled on those gorgeous socks, and over them my shoes. So this is the moral of my ode: beauty is beauty twice over and good things are doubly good when you're talking about a pair of wool socks in the dead of winter.
ODE TO MY SUIT Every morning, suit, you are waiting on a chair to be filled with my vanity, my love, my hope, my body. Still only half awake I leave the shower to shrug into your sleeves, my legs seek the hollow of your legs, and thus embraced by your unfailing loyalty I take my morning walk work my way into my poetry; from my window I see the things men, women, events and struggles constantly shaping me, constantly confronting me, setting my hands to the task, opening my eyes, creasing my lips, and the same way, suit, I am shaping you, poking out my elbows, wearing you threadbare, and so your life grows, in the image of my own. In the wind you flap and hum as if you were my soul, in bad moments you cling to my bones, abandoned, at nighttime darkness and dream people with their phantoms your wings and mine. I wonder whether some day an enemy bullet will stain you with my blood, for then you would die with me, but perhaps it will be less dramatic, simple, and you will grow ill, suit, with me, grow older with me, with my body and together we will be lowered into the earth. That's why every day I greet you with respect and than you embrace me and I forget you, because we are one being and shell be always in the wind, trough the night, the streets and the struggle, one body, maybe, maybe, one day, still.
ODE TO A PAIR OF SCISSORS Prodigious, scissors (looking like birds, or fish), you are as polished as a knight's shining armor. Two long and treacherous knives crossed and bound together for all time, two tiny rivers joined: thus was born a creature for cutting, a fish that swims among billowing lines, a bird that flies through barbershops. Scissors that smell of my seamstress aunt's hands when their vacant metal eye spied on our cramped childhood, tattling to the neighbors about our thefts of plums and kisses. There, in the house, nested in their corner the scissors crossed our lives, and oh so many lengths of fabric that they cut and kept on cutting: for newlyweds and the dead, for newborns and hospital wards. They cut and kept on cutting also the peasant's hair as though as a plant that clings to rock, and flags soon stained and scorched by blood and flame, and vine stalks in winter, and the cord of voices on the telephone. A long lost pair of scissors cut your mother's thread from your navel and handed you for all time your separate existence. Another pair, not necessarily somber, will one day cut the suit you wear to your grave. Scissors have gone everywhere, they've explored the world snipping off pieces of happiness and sadness indifferently. Everything has been material for scissors to shape: The tailor's giant scissors, as lovely as schooners, and very small ones for trimming nails in the shape of waning moon, and the surgeon's slender submarine scissors that cut the complications and the knot that not have grown inside of you. Now, I'll cut this ode short with the scissors of good sense, so that it won't be too long or too short, so that it will fit in your pocket smoothed and folded like a pair of scissors. Pablo Neruda
FABLE OF THE MERMAID AND THE DRUNKS All these fellows were there inside when she entered, utterly naked. They had been drinking, and begun 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 faraway 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 dying. Pablo Neruda Back to my homepage