Pablo Neruda

Ode To Salt

This salt in the saltcellar I once saw in the salt mines. I know you won't believe me, but it sings, salt sings, the skin of the salt mines sings with a mouth smothered by the earth. I shivered in those solitudes when I heard the voice of the salt in the desert. Near Antofagasta the nitrous pampa resounds: a broken voice, a mournful song. In its caves the salt moans, mountain of buried light, translucent cathedral, crystal of the sea, oblivion of the waves. And then on every table in the world, salt, we see your piquant powder sprinkling vital light upon our food. Preserver of the ancient holds of ships, discoverer on the high seas, earliest sailor of the unknown, shifting byways of the foam. Dust of the sea, in you the tongue receives a kiss from ocean night: taste imparts to every seasoned dish your ocean essence; the smallest, miniature wave from the saltcellar reveals to us more than domestic whiteness; in it, we taste infinitude.

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