Treasure Island

Pablo Neruda

(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973 / Parral / Chile)

Ode to a Large Tuna in the Market


Among the market greens,
a bullet
from the ocean
depths,
a swimming
projectile,
I saw you,
dead.

All around you
were lettuces,
sea foam
of the earth,
carrots,
grapes,
but
of the ocean
truth,
of the unknown,
of the
unfathomable
shadow, the
depths
of the sea,
the abyss,
only you had survived,
a pitch-black, varnished
witness
to deepest night.

Only you, well-aimed
dark bullet
from the abyss,
mangled
at one tip,
but constantly
reborn,
at anchor in the current,
winged fins
windmilling
in the swift
flight
of
the
marine
shadow,
a mourning arrow,
dart of the sea,
olive, oily fish.
I saw you dead,
a deceased king
of my own ocean,
green
assault, silver
submarine fir,
seed
of seaquakes,
now
only dead remains,
yet
in all the market
yours
was the only
purposeful form
amid
the bewildering rout
of nature;
amid the fragile greens
you were
a solitary ship,
armed
among the vegetables
fin and prow black and oiled,
as if you were still
the vessel of the wind,
the one and only
pure
ocean
machine:
unflawed, navigating
the waters of death.

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

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Comments about this poem (Ode to a Large Tuna in the Market by Pablo Neruda )

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  • Judy Thompson (2/20/2014 1:02:00 AM)

    You is the writer's wife or lover. The theme is how she was different to all others, with personal qualities of truth, depth, reborn, yours was the only purposeful form, unflawed.
    Navigating the waters of death, she died. (Report) Reply

  • Jan Peregrinus (5/20/2009 9:16:00 AM)

    Dense lines, bursting with energy. Neruda was a magician whose sole raw material was language. Sit in a silent room and read this out loud in a low voice. You'll understand.

    More than awesome. (Report) Reply

  • john tiong chunghoo (7/3/2006 8:01:00 AM)

    so dark, like emily you like writing about death. so much so that you give so much life to death. waters of death depict life. (Report) Reply

Read all 4 comments »

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