Treasure Island

Pablo Neruda

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

The House of Odes


Writing
these
odes
in this
year nineteen
hundred and
fifty-five,
readying and tuning
my demanding, murmuring lyre,
I know who I am
and where my song is going.
I understand
that the shopper for myths
and mysteries
may enter
my wood
and adobe
house of odes,
may despise
the utensils,
the portraits
of father and mother and country
on the walls,
the simplicity
of the bread
and the saltcellar. But
that's how it is in my house of odes.
I deposed the dark monarchy,
the useless flowing hair of dreams,
I trod on the tail
of the cerebral reptile,
and set things
-- water and fire -
in harmony with man and earth.
I want everything
to have
a handle,
I want everything to be
a cup or a tool,
I want people to enter a hardware
store through the door of my odes.
I work at
cutting
newly hewn boards,
storing casks
of honey,
arranging
horseshoes, harness,
forks:
I want everyone to enter here,
let them ask questions,
ask for anything they want.
I am from the South, a Chilean,
a sailor
returned
from the seas.
I did not stay in the islands,
a king.
I did not stay ensconced
in the land of dreams.
I returned to labor simply
beside others,
for everyone.
So that everyone
may live here,
I build my house
with transparent
odes.

Submitted: Monday, March 22, 2010

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