5 January 2016

“What Spring Does to the Blossoms”

“You do to me, what spring does to its blossoms.” – Pablo Neruda

The 20th Century poet from Chile had a proficiency such that rarely have poets like him bloomed on the face of this planet. He brought out his first collection of poetry at the age of seventeen, and his poetic fluidity got him a quick voice among Spanish Literature, and then the literature of every language that saw his works being translated. The 1971 Nobel Prize winner’s third collection of poems, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, remains one of the best reads in erotic love poetry that explores love in its raw, unmoulded and desirous stage.

People read Neruda their own way. Some would prefer looking at the stars, drawing constellations, and celebrating erotic magic weaving the sky, some would let the words seep into them, percolating every particle of emotion that ever arose in the human mind. I read Neruda my own way, and I have read this book in a way I wonder I can ever read any other collection of poems. Latin American Spanish is a language I would have loved to learn, but the world is unfortunately cruel in its own way, and I still await the opportunity. But reading the translation has not been any less of a magical journey (My copy has been translated by Merwin), and I will tell you how I read it. 21 wordly spells printed on pages. The first twenty talking of love, and the last, of despair, which many poets have inevitably associated with the former. I initially read a poem a day, experiencing love in a form, the day being blessed by Neruda’s fountain of superfluidity. The despair was equally effective, and one cannot not expect that, because he wrote emotions in their raw erotic flavour, a death spell to your emotional jargon, and a new life to your soul.


What surprised me, was that the book was equally efficient and effective when I did the opposite. Yes, you can read the book in reverse, experience the despair, and the love that washes it all away. Love that recreates, love that transcreates, and love that believes in exploration.

The purpose of this article might seem vague (and it might be; poetry and its associates deserve and at times, desire to be vague), but what my fingers fail to articulate that a book has its own flair, and people like Neruda add their own spices to the very act of reading. Reading no longer remains a verb, but delves into the realm of exuberant, ebullient experience, where the poet dies, but the poetry lives on.

“As long lives this, and gives life to thee.” – Shakespeare 

I do not know how Neruda transpasses the whip of time and still creates waves in our souls that we cannot overrule or override. This is not a tribute to Neruda, not a remembrance, but just an example of what happens if you are hooked on to one poet for a long time. But Shelley seems perfect to end this piece, which has been vastly crazy, like valence electrons, swinging to and fro, and has resulted into a really unnameable section of writing.

                          “The desire of the moth for the star, 
                             Of the night for the morrow,
                             The devotion to something afar,
                              From the sphere of our sorrow.” – Shelley 

About the author :- 

Sayantan is an active queer expressionist studying Biological Sciences in Presidency University. He is the editor-in-chief of ExPress Magazine, and also writes various columns for various other reputed magazines and blogs. Some of his other articles are as follows :- 

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