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ODE TO THE SEA by Pablo Neruda | A POEM A DAY

FEATURED POET: Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda (July 12 1904September 23 1973) was the penname and, later, legal name of the Chilean writer and communist politician Ricardo Eliecer Neftal Reyes Basoalto.

Having his works translated into dozens of languages, Pablo Neruda is considered one of the greatest and most influential poets of the 20th century. Neruda was accomplished in a wide variety of styles, ranging from erotically charged love poems (such as “White Hills”), surrealist poems, historical epics, and overtly political manifestos. Some of Neruda’s most beloved poems are his “Odes to Broken Things,” collected in several volumes. Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez has called him “the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language”. In 1971, Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature, a controversial award because of his political activism.

Ode To the Sea

HERE
Surrounding the island
There’s sea.
But what sea?
It’s always overflowing.
Says yes,
Then no,
Then no again,
And no,
Says yes
In blue
In sea spray
Raging,
Says no
And no again.
It can’t be still.
It stammers
My name is sea.

It slaps the rocks
And when they aren’t convinced,
Strokes them
And soaks them
And smothers them with kisses.
With seven green tongues
Of seven green dogs
Or seven green tigers
Or seven green seas,
Beating its chest,
Stammering its name,

Oh Sea,
This is your name.
Oh comrade ocean,
Don’t waste time
Or water
Getting so upset
Help us instead.
We are meager fishermen,
Men from the shore
Who are hungry and cold
And you’re our foe.
Don’t beat so hard,
Don’t shout so loud,
Open your green coffers,
Place gifts of silver in our hands.
Give us this day
our daily fish.

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About Hannah|JuliusMariveles

English instructor and broadcast journalist

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