Sunday, July 10, 2016

BW28: Ode to the Artichoke

Flowering artichoke

July 12th is the anniversary of Pablo Neruda's birthday and since I've over inundated you with links the last few weeks,  figured I'd keep it simple this week.

Ode to the Artichoke


Pablo Neruda

The artichoke 
With a tender heart 
Dressed up like a warrior, 
Standing at attention, it built 
A small helmet 
Under its scales 
It remained 
By its side 
The crazy vegetables 
Their tendrills and leaf-crowns, 
Throbbing bulbs, 
In the sub-soil 
The carrot 
With its red mustaches 
Was sleeping, 
The grapevine 
Hung out to dry its branches 
Through which the wine will rise, 
The cabbage 
Dedicated itself 
To trying on skirts, 
The oregano 
To perfuming the world, 
And the sweet 
There in the garden, 
Dressed like a warrior, 
Like a proud 

And one day 
Side by side 
In big wicker baskets 
Walking through the market 
To realize their dream 
The artichoke army 
In formation.

Never was it so military 
Like on parade.

The men 
In their white shirts 
Among the vegetables 
The Marshals 
Of the artichokes 
Lines in close order 
Command voices, 
And the bang 
Of a falling box.

With her basket 
She chooses 
An artichoke, 
She's not afraid of it.

She examines it, she observes it 
Up against the light like it was an egg, 
She buys it, 
She mixes it up 
In her handbag 
With a pair of shoes 
With a cabbage head and a 
Of vinegar 
She enters the kitchen 
And submerges it in a pot.

Thus ends 
In peace 
This career 
Of the armed vegetable 
Which is called an artichoke, 
Scale by scale, 
We strip off 
The delicacy 
And eat 
The peaceful mush 
Of its green heart.

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