Thursday, June 16, 2016

June 15

Ode to Things by Pablo Neruda
Ode to bread by Pablo Neruda
Epistle to Neruda by Yevgeny Yevtushenko
First Breath by Adam Lawrence Dyer from his his book, “Love Beyond God suggested by Emily:
inspired by the last lines of [HERE, SAID THE OCEAN] by Rodrigo Dela Pena, Jr. discussed last week.

June 8th, we heard with Neruda's Ode to Common Things, set to music by Cary Ratcliff. We could spend days discussing whether it detracted from the poem, as David put it, 'a tribute, but not a complement...".
Perhaps the same is true for translation which provides an echo to the original.
(It’s good to read him with a side-by-side translation. For instance, Ode to Common Things does not quite do justice to the Spanish, "Odas Elementales". What is elemental, essential? What is the difference between "fundamental" and useful? Neruda says his poetry "became clear and happy when it branche off toward humbler subjects and things." He invented a new form of a brief, sinuous line that leaves more white space than print

These questions aside (or as David is fond of saying, "Be that as it may"... what does the last line mean about the things that touch us, or that our hand touches? "they were so close that they were a part of my being, they were so alive with me that they lived half my life and will die half my death."

I sent this link provided by John and suggests, since Neruda was communist, that he would have known about
The Fetishism of Commodities and the Secret Thereof — As we become attached to things, are we at risk for being less invested to attachment to others, our society?
What is the role of politics? How do we tell and re-tell something important to us?
As the craftsman becomes replaced by the worker in a factory, the idea of the hand as maker turns into the hand as non-invested...
Connection through things, remembered as part and parcel of a life, one energy transferred to another to allow them to continue allows a beauty of life force. "The planet is sublime".

The discussion continued about collecting things, relationship to things, similarities between Blake and early Marx.

The next Ode, to broken things, had a sense of the story of creation and destruction-- beyond label of natural or unnatural forces-- I wonder if the original is reflected in the translation of "invisible, deliberate smasher" and "alarming breaker" (which in English serves as giant wave and destroyer as well as electric current interruptor)... the contradictions and paradox are strong:
clock-- with delicate blue guts
among the broken glass
its wide heart
"dangerous fragility"
the flower pots tired of the violets...
broken memory /shining dust.

Even the useless things, the ones not used, everything subject to being broken...

Paul suggested the poem Epistle to Neruda by Yevgeny Yevtushenko — and so, of course, since he mentions Bread, I included the Ode to bread. Joyce brought a bilingual version of the odes, and loosely translated a quite different version than the one distributed. Judith brought in a delicious loaf of rye bread made with Guiness stout. The discussion went into bread, its making, the changing of its composition... bread as staff of life, symbol of communion, losing that power if not given freely.

Much different style than the Yevgeny Yevtushenko, which starts out with a portrait about Neruda... and gives us the delicious word "politutes' and attributes this to his confrere:

And Neruda comments, with a hint of slyness:
"A poet is
beyond the rise and fall of values.
It's not hard to remove us from the center,
but the spot where they set us down
becomes the center!"

And of course, "becomes the center, is off-center.

** How much and how long does a political poem last? Is poetry's key to longevity really about "being with the people to the bitter end?"
There was some joking about statues of famous people now in disfavor
moved from public eye.

The final poem, to quote David again, had a sense of the second chapter in Genesis... not the cerebral and more priestly first chapter, but mythic. Jan mentioned the poem celebrated for her the recent birth of her first grandson...
chpt. 2 of genesis... (mythic) not “word, let there be...

We ended speaking about Obama's speech about Orlando and Paul read a lovely Father's Day poem by Patrick Kavanagh:

MEMORY of MY FATHER.................. by .Patrick Kavanagh, Collected Poems.

Every old man I see
Reminds me of my father
When he had fallen in love with death
One time when sheaves were gathered.

That man I saw in Gardner Street
Stumble on the kerb was one,
He stared at me half eyed,
I might have been his son.

And I remember the musician
Faltering over his fiddle
In Bayswater, London,
He too set me the riddle.

Every old man I see
In October-coloured weather
Seems to say to me:
"I was once your father."

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