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
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.
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: www.bmts.com/~damilos/wordsaloud.htm
March 21: at Metcalf Inn in Elora, Ontario, sponsored by the Café at the End of the Universe and hosted by Gordon Gilhouly