Every morning, I open Neruda’s One Hundred Love Sonnets on the breakfast table and escape to his Chilean Isla Negra. I let him fold his wings over me and get an insight into his romantic mind: his sexual longings and love for his wife Matilde; his celebration of the the body, the female form and all its comparisons to food, birds, stones, water and mountains. For ten to fifteen minutes I am where he is.
On his island, its shores and mountains, vineyards and harvested earth, I feel, for the briefest of moments, his mind and vision and wish that breakfast could last all day long. The tender sonnets of one of Latin America’s foremost love poets, bestow my humble oats with ambrosial qualities, making the mundane passionate and extraordinary. Born in 1904 in a small town in central Chile, Neruda became one of the most renowned poets of the 20th Century. He shared the World Peace Prize with Paul Robeson and Pablo Picasso in 1950, and he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his poetry in 1971. His poetic genius is unmatched and I love how his writing can be so simultaneously affectionate and astute. I don’t normally post my own work here but there is no cause for alarm! This is just my morning, my
Breakfast With Neruda
By Tracy Gaughan
Open on my breakfast table, your book
of Sonnets. They bear the aroma of warm grain
from the Black Island, a measure of romance
and oats, milled by the buhrstone of your poet tongue.
Spoons of sand in an ocean of moon, I draw in
the perfume of your labour: earth, chaff, threshing
de-hulling; sweet carnal desires ripening
under the hot Chilean sun.
You transform this cereal ritual
Into an impassioned banquet of words
From your heart to my mouth – before sonorous steel
Pilfers me from our constellation of breath.
I return each morning like thirst, unquenchable.
Refill my empty nets with your shoal of syllable.