Pablo Neruda

Ode To The Book

When I close a book I open life. I hear faltering cries among harbours. Copper ignots slide down sand-pits to Tocopilla. Night time. Among the islands our ocean throbs with fish, touches the feet, the thighs, the chalk ribs of my country. The whole of night clings to its shores, by dawn it wakes up singing as if it had excited a guitar. The ocean's surge is calling. The wind calls me and Rodriguez calls, and Jose Antonio- I got a telegram from the 'Mine' Union and the one I love (whose name I won't let out) expects me in Bucalemu. No book has been able to wrap me in paper, to fill me up with typography, with heavenly imprints or was ever able to bind my eyes, I come out of books to people orchards with the hoarse family of my song, to work the burning metals or to eat smoked beef by mountain firesides. I love adventurous books, books of forest or snow, depth or sky but hate the spider book in which thought has laid poisonous wires to trap the juvenile and circling fly. Book, let me go. I won't go clothed in volumes, I don't come out of collected works, my poems have not eaten poems- they devour exciting happenings, feed on rough weather, and dig their food out of earth and men. I'm on my way with dust in my shoes free of mythology: send books back to their shelves, I'm going down into the streets. I learned about life from life itself, love I learned in a single kiss and could teach no one anything except that I have lived with something in common among men, when fighting with them, when saying all their say in my song.

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