पाब्लो नेरूदा । Pablo Neruda

Ode to Salt by Pablo Neruda

Ode to Salt by Pablo Neruda

We often hear that poets have their muses, they get inspiration from the nature, from the bounties of the skies, from ravishing waterfalls, from delicate beauties and so on. But have you ever heard that someone got inspired from salt! Yes, salt, our very own, the homely, white, fine-grained beauty that quaintly sits in the uniquely designed porcelain shakers.
And not only inspiration, Neruda decides to render an ode to this taste enhancing grain from the oceans.
Read this wonderful poem titled ‘Ode to Salt’ by Pablo Neruda. Read it again till you start feeling the taste of salt lingering on your lips. Then, you would have actually read what Neruda meant.

This salt in the saltcellar
I once saw in the salt mines.
I know
you won’t
believe me,
it sings,
salt sings, the skin
of the salt mines
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
a broken
a mournful

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,
we see your piquant
vital light
our food. Preserver
of the ancient
holds of ships,
the high seas,
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,
wave from the saltcellar
reveals to us
more than domestic whiteness;
in it, we taste infinitude.


पाब्लो नेरूदा । Pablo Neruda


100 Love Sonnets

Translated English version by Mark Eisner

I don ’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things, secretly,
between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but
carries the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,
and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose from the earth lives dimly in my body.

I love you without knowing how,
or when, or from where I love you directly without problems or pride:
I love you like this because I don’t know
any other way to love,
except in this form in which
I am not nor are you,
so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,
so close that your eyes close with my dreams

Original Spanish version by Neruda

No te amo como si fueras rosa de sal, topacio
o flecha de claveles que propagan el fuego:
te amo como se aman ciertas cosas oscuras,
secretamente, entre la sombra y el alma.

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