Pablo Neruda – a Tribute


Where there is only heaven,

sweetness and beauty become dull

and, as a child of God,

I hope to fall from grace.


Where there is only Hell

the bitter gall soon turns into

sweet liver paste and the

constant pain begins to lull.

All creative urges disappear without a trace.


Walled in between unattainable goodness

and unimaginable evil, artistic emotions curdle,

the intellect addles and my soul waddles

through life.


When heaven blocks my path,

I thank God for putting it there but,

at the same time, I remind Him

that He couldn’t keep Adam and Eve,

why would he want me?


As I turn my back I find myself

by the fires of hell so I ring the bell

and call upon Satan to negotiate:

“Your empire is too hot for a creative thought!”


Though I admit fear had inspired

multitudes of platitudes, these fall and burn

while art and poetry have the tendency

at every turn to extinguish Hell’s fire.


While Satan considers his options

I remind him that he had

already negotiated half his rights away

and given the Emissaries of the Church

an entire realm of creative activity:


the vast seas, fields and forests of purgatory

where men and women burn off the dross

through lifetimes of trial and error

where the cross becomes a crossroad

and the triangles in David’s star

swing back and forth freely;

They cause no hurt, they leave no scar.


It’s the cycle of life from the edge of fall

to he ladder of redemption and back again.

The same earth now yields crystal clear water,

then sludge and dredge!


There are no such cycles in Heaven,

there are no contrasts to ponder in Hell,

Hell! Those who have created hell on earth

have shown time and again

that thinking has nothing to do with it.


From a world caught between Heaven and Hell

I will always escape to Purgatory

and thank those Church fathers

who had the divine insight

to create a place where life can be lived to the fullest.


Daniel Kolos

Beaver Valley, Ontario

March 16, 2004


Note:  this poem was composed for the Hundredth anniversary of Pablo Neruda’s birth. 

This Nobel Prize winning poet is being celebrated the world over.  Daniel Kolos read this poem at World Poetry Day/Dialogue Through Poetry readings:

March 20:  at the Ginger Press Book Store in Owen Sound, Ontario, sponsored by the Words Aloud Poetry Cooperative:

March 21: at Metcalf Inn in Elora, Ontario, sponsored by the Café at the End of the Universe and hosted by Gordon Gilhouly