Neruda’s “The Poet’s Obligation” seemed to fit this Friday morning. He is speaking to everyone who is not listening to the sea today. Me? I’m listening to a lawn mower at one of the houses on my block. Before that someone’s car alarm went off twice. But the birds have been singing in the snowball bush outside my window and inside — the beautiful Spanish Celtic music of Carlos Nuñez.
The Poet’s Obligation
“To whoever is not listening to the sea
this Friday morning, to whoever is cooped up
in house or office…
to him I come, and without speaking or looking
I arrive and open the door of his prison,
and a vibration starts up, vague and insistent,
a long rumble of thunder adds itself
to the weight of the planet and the foam,
the groaning rivers of the ocean rise,
the star vibrates quickly in its corona
and the sea beats, dies, and goes on beating.
…So, through me, freedom and the sea
will call in answer to the shrouded heart.”
Note: These passages come from Neruda: On the Blue Shore of Silence/A La Orilla Azul del Silencio, which was published to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Pablo Neruda.