Pablo Neruda

The House Of Odes

Writing these odes in this year nineteen hundred and fifty-five, readying and tuning my demanding, murmuring lyre, I know who I am and where my song is going. I understand that the shopper for myths and mysteries may enter my wood and adobe house of odes, may despise the utensils, the portraits of father and mother and country on the walls, the simplicity of the bread and the saltcellar. But that's how it is in my house of odes. I deposed the dark monarchy, the useless flowing hair of dreams, I trod on the tail of the cerebral reptile, and set things -- water and fire - in harmony with man and earth. I want everything to have a handle, I want everything to be a cup or a tool, I want people to enter a hardware store through the door of my odes. I work at cutting newly hewn boards, storing casks of honey, arranging horseshoes, harness, forks: I want everyone to enter here, let them ask questions, ask for anything they want. I am from the South, a Chilean, a sailor returned from the seas. I did not stay in the islands, a king. I did not stay ensconced in the land of dreams. I returned to labor simply beside others, for everyone. So that everyone may live here, I build my house with transparent odes.

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