Sunday, May 3, 2009

And Here is One Example of What Words Can Do

Sonnet XXVII by Pablo Neruda

Naked, you are simple as one of your hands, 
Smooth, earthy, small, transparent, round: 
You have moonlines, applepathways: 
Naked, you are slender as a naked grain of wheat.

Naked, you are blue as the night in Cuba; 
You have vines and stars in your hair; 
Naked, you are spacious and yellow 
As summer in a golden church.

Naked, you are tiny as one of your nails, 
Curved, subtle, rosy, till the day is born 
And you withdraw to the underground world,
as if down a long tunnel of clothing and of chores:
Your clear light dims, gets dressed, drops its leaves,
And becomes a naked hand again.

I am watching the movie, Il Postino, about Pablo Neruda in exile in Italy.  In one section, Beatrice's aunt tells her that "Words are the worst things ever.  I'd prefer a drunkard at the bar touching your bum to someone who says, 'Your smile flies like a butterfly.'"    She warns Beatrice that once a man touches her with his words, touching her with his hands is not far off.  After this scene, Mario reads the above Neruda sonnet.  I'd have to say that this sonnet is a perfect example to use as proof of the old aunt's words.  Just reading that poem makes my heart full. I would imagine that even in my cynical state, I would be vulnerable to a man who had those words inside of him.  (Note to self:  need to warn my daughter now.  Life is not like poetry and literature.)

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