Tuesday Poem: ‘September 8th’ by Pablo Neruda

September 8th

Today, this day was a brimming cup,
today, this day was the immense wave,
today, it was all the earth.

Today the stormy sea
lifted us in a kiss
so high that we trembled
in a lightning flash
and, tied, we went down
to sink without untwining.

Today our bodies became vast,
they grew to the edge of the world
and rolled melting
into a single drop
of wax or meteor.

Between you and me a new door opened
and someone, still faceless,
was waiting for us there.

I wanted to post a Pablo Neruda poem because I will shortly be in Madrid, Spain. Although Neruda was born in Chile he spent formative years living in Madrid and was there when the Spanish civil war broke out in 1936. My interest in the war comes from my small obsession with Picasso who has always loomed large in my creative and imaginative life. After my undergrad (which was in Fine Arts) I went to Europe and saw many of the works I had studied but Guernica, Picasso’s large and tortured mural in response to the 1937 bombing of Guernica, is in Spain. Although I have travelled since then it has taken me ten years to return to this part of Europe.

Visiting Europe reminds me that my own writing resides within a small circle of relationships and importances that barely touch this side of the world or anywhere outside of New Zealand. My sister (who lived in London for ten years) says she sometimes feels like the world happens “over there” because her circles of interest are still in Britain. I find it easy to get wrapped up in the New Zealand literary scene and focus on publication and relationships because it feels like an important way to build a writing career. Very few poets become known or influential outside of their own country and while I believe in the quality of my own work (and that I will be published in New Zealand and Australia), I know the uncommon luck and talent it takes to become known internationally. While my world “happens” in New Zealand the idea that broad and diverse communities of poets are writing and publishing with no need of my own circle of interest reminds me to focus my energy on developing my writing instead of my writing career. In my opinion this is where good writing begins.

You can enjoy other Tuesday Poems on the Tuesday Poem Blog.

6 thoughts on “Tuesday Poem: ‘September 8th’ by Pablo Neruda

  1. I will always feel blessed to have my birthday on September 8 and to have found this poem. I read it the first time many years ago, and always take pleasure reading it again and again. Thank you for re-posting and sharing your thoughts.

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