April 30th, 2011

me: art

National Poetry Month No. 9: Pablo Neruda- excerpt from Oda al Gato/Ode to the Cat

Pablo Neruda - excerpt from Oda al gato/Ode to the Cat (from Navigations and Returns translated from the original Spanish by many - I have chosen among them to construct a favourite.)

I don't think I need to explain why I love this poem, do I?

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Man wants to be fish or fowl,
the snake wants wings
the dog is a baffled lion,
the engineer wants to be a poet,
the fly studies to be a swift,
the poet tries to imitate the fly,
but the cat
only wants to be a cat
and any cat is a cat
from his whiskers to his tail,
from his anticipation of a rat
to the real thing,
from the night to his golden eyes.

There is no completeness
like his,
the moon and the flower
do not have such scope:
he is just one thing
like the sun or the topaz,
and the elastic line of his contours
is firm and subtle like
the line of a ship's prow.
His yellow eyes
have just one
to coin the gold of night.
me: ooh!

Poetry Roundup: April 2011

Today is the last day of the American National Poetry Month. (As an American expat living in Britain, I claim the right to celebrate either in April or October.) I tried to cover a range of time periods and as much of the world as I could with my nine poetry posts (though my knowledge of African poets is sadly deficient), which forced me to abandon the male-female-male-female scheme I had originally intended. My commentary is mostly personal, as I am no literary expert and these are simply the favourites I’ve gleaned from dilettante study over my lifetime. I hope at least a few people found this series entertaining.

  1. The Golden Palominos “Ride” with lyrics by Nicole Blackman (female, American)
  2. Philip Larkin “Next, Please” (male, English)
  3. Wisława Szymborska “Theatre Impressions” (female, Polish)
  4. Li Po “Along the Stream” (male, Chinese)
  5. Sandra Cisneros “I the Woman” (female, Mexican-American)
  6. William Blake “The Sick Rose” (male, English)
  7. Tachibana Hokushi “untitled haiku” (male, Japanese)
  8. Alexander Pushkin “Eugene Onegin” excerpt (male, Russian)
  9. Pablo Neruda “Oda al Gato/Ode to the Cat” excerpt (male, Chilean)