7.21.2008

The First Tomato: Star of Earth


Ah....that joy of the first tomato of the season. We picked it and had the most delicious BLT sandwiches yesterday. Pablo Neruda uses words as art in honoring the tomato.
I have been reading many poets this summer. Raymond Pert had used selected poems of Pablo Neruda during the writing retreat and I have since read two of his books. Every word is carefully chosen to help the reader create an image or a sensory experience when observing a simple thing such as a tomato .This is what he said about poetry in the introduction
to his book The Essential Neruda :

“On our earth, before writing was invented, before the printing press was invented, poetry flourished. That is why we know that poetry is like bread; it should be shared by all, by scholars and by peasants, by all our vast, incredible, extraordinary family of humanity.”


Ode to Tomatoes

by Pablo Neruda

The street
filled with tomatoes,
midday,
summer,
light is
halved
like
a
tomato,
its juice
runs
through the streets.
In December,
unabated,
the tomato
invades
the kitchen,
it enters at lunchtime,
takes
its ease
on countertops,
among glasses,
butter dishes,
blue saltcellars.
It sheds
its own light,
benign majesty.
Unfortunately, we must
murder it:
the knife
sinks
into living flesh,
red
viscera,
a cool
sun,
profound,
inexhaustible,
populates the salads
of Chile,
happily, it is wed
to the clear onion,
and to celebrate the union
we
pour
oil,
essential
child of the olive,
onto its halved hemispheres,
pepper
adds
its fragrance,
salt, its magnetism;
it is the wedding
of the day,
parsley
hoists
its flag,
potatoes
bubble vigorously,
the aroma
of the roast
knocks
at the door,
it’s time!
come on!
and, on
the table, at the midpoint
of summer,
the tomato,
star of earth,
recurrent
and fertile
star,
displays
its convolutions,
its canals,
its remarkable amplitude
and abundance,
no pit,
no husk,
no leaves or thorns,
the tomato offers
its gift
of fiery color
and cool completeness.

as translated by Margaret Sayers Peden

I was so excited about this first tomato I must have been shaking and got a fuzzy picture!



8 comments :

  1. lovely, makes me want to pick tomatoes to eat them fresh, because there is no better way to eat them!

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  2. actually, your lens focused on the background, not the foreground! I think it's a cool picture.

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  3. I love this poem! But here's an example where the punctuation held me up, trying to "read" it. I would much rather let the line breaks do the work for me.

    I knew you'd have some garden fresh news over here. I just picked my first red ones too!

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  4. Man, I don't even like tomatoes, but your post made me want to eat one. :)

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  5. I am with you about the first tomato of the season. Nothing better. Even when I buy tomatoes from the farmer's market, they simply aren't as good as picking one and slicing it and eating it straight off the vine from my garden.

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  6. That's one delicious poem!!!

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  7. Hi, our tomatoes won't be ready for awhile. Yours looks good! Nothing better than a BL. I like the poem, too.

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  8. mmmm...love neruda. thanks for plucking this little gem for us today. tasty!

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I always enjoy reading comments!

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