Sunday, October 22, 2006

Il Postino, Pablo and Poetry

I was listening to my one of my favorite CD's yesterday - the soundtrack to Il Postino.
I received it as a Christmas present years ago and it's absolutely a treasure.

The first part of the CD has Pablo Neruda's poetry read aloud by actors. First of all, I love literary readings performed by actors because they know how to bring life to the words. Julia Roberts reads "Poor Fellows" and you could feel how much the words resonate with her as a celebrity. When Andy Garcia reads "Tonight I Can Write," you just want to cry along with him. Ralph Fiennes, Sting and Ethan Hawke read other poems and well, you just want to be with them.

The other half of the CD is instrumental and to me, it all sounds the same. It's pretty much the same theme song performed by different instruments and given different titles on the CD cover.
Anyway, I can't believe I haven't talked about Neruda on my blog yet. I love his poetry and if I learned Spanish, it would be only to read the his work in the purest form -- his own language. There is such an unashamed sensuality and passion to his poems.

I have always loved and identified with the poem below. To me, it not language or admiration between two lovers, but my feelings toward my daughter, especially the bolded lines (bolding is mine).

I Love You As

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,

or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.

I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,

in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms

but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;

thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,

risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.

I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;

so I love because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,

so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,

so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Now, as a poet, I find this poem always strikes a crisp chord in me.


And it was at that age ... Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don't know, I don't know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don't know how or when,
no they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.

I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names,
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
that fire,
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
and open,
palpitating plantations,
shadow perforated,
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.

And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.

Here's one more that I had found and saved:

In my sky at Twilight

In my sky at twilight you are a cloud
and your form and colour ar
e the way I love them.
You are mine, mine, woman with sweet lips
and in your life my infinite dreams live.

The lamp of my soul dyes your feet.
My sour wine is sweeter on your lips,
oh reaper of my evening song.
how solitary dreams believe you to be mine!

You are mine, mine, I go shouting it to the afternoon's
wind, and the wind hauls on my widowed voice.
Huntress of the depths of my eyes, your plunder
stills your nocturnal regard as though it were water.

You are taken in the net of my music, my love,
and my nets of music are wide as the sky.
My soul is born on the shore of your eyes of mourning.
In your eyes of mourning the land of dreams begins.


Anonymous said...

:) Beautiful thoughts A. I liked the pomes.

One word though, I hope you are sparing some love for the hubby dear and not doling out all to the lil A :))

He is also part of the team, remember :D

Anonymous said...

My squirrely brain cannot comprehend heavy poetry; what do the following lines mean?

# The lamp of my soul dyes your feet.

# Huntress of the depths of my eyes, your plunder
stills your nocturnal regard as though it were water.

I may be not be able to fully comprehend the following but it sounds beautiful

# My soul is born on the shore of your eyes of mourning.
In your eyes of mourning the land of dreams begins.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you asked your questions because
1. When you ask, you learn something.
2. When you ask, I learn something.

First of all, these are translated from Spanish. So, I thought maybe there was a better translation out there to explain "your plunder stills your nocturnal regard". (BTW, I have an image of the woman searching his face at night, perhaps lying face to face. She's searching for something and somehow gets deep into his eyes and souls and then quiets down, to a peaceful still of water.

Anyway, here is MY lesson learned.
This is NOT a Neruda poem! This is Rabindranath Tagore!! Neruda translated Tagore into Spanish and now someone translated it back into English.

Check this: Tagore

See, you have to have your own Nobel Prize before you can go playing with other Nobel Prize poets' works.

Here's more: Tagore and Neruda

Who knew?

Thanks for asking, man!!

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Rabindranath Tagore sounds like someone I should be knowing very well by now but sadly I don't. I should sit with my 11 year old niece and brush up a few things.

Either way, I searched for meanings for the word "dyed." The meaning is the one we all know, "to impart color."

# So, probably, when the lamp burns, it gives a black color remember? So the soul is more like a lamp at the feet of the goddess; in revered submission, as seen in Indian temples (now that you have made the Indian connection.)

# Huntress of the depths of my eyes, your plunder
stills your nocturnal regard as though it were water.

Stills = quieten? opposite of restlessness?
nocturnal regard = desire?

Your explanation is probably right. Have you heard of the phrase "mind like water?" This is a used to describe a state of mind on which you have complete control, perhaps because it is so easy to disturb water.

"your plunder stills your nocturnal regard as though it were water."

What does "plunder" signify?

anyways, thanks for the extra info. This is why I didn't read English poetry. Lots of search for meaning.

Anonymous said...

See, with poetry you can't say there's one way to look at something. The author had an intent, the reader has an intent. Everyone will read something differently. I always remember how I wrote a poem about eating a pineapple, and people thought I was talking about life, childbirth or jibberish.

See, with "lamp dyes" you went black with ashes.. I thought of white light, a glow that colors everything white. But, like you pointed out that there is an Indian connection so it could be a diya at the feet of a goddess.

Anyway - think of "your plunder" as "your brash actions". So you're coming in strongly, excited, rudely and then stop. Still. Like water.

iamliza said...

i was googling for the complete il postino poems and i bumped into your blog and i liked what i was reading... basically because i'm a neruda fan and also dabble with poetry myself and i learned quite a bit from your disccussions... =)