Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Pablo Neruda, Every day you play

Every day you play with the light of the universe.
Subtle visitor, you arrive in the flower and the water.
You are more than this white head that I hold tightly
as a cluster of fruit, every day, between my hands.

You are like nobody since I love you.
Let me spread you out among yellow garlands.
Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south?
Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed.

Suddenly the wind howls and bangs at my shut window.
The sky is a net crammed with shadowy fish.
Here all the winds let go sooner or later, all of them.
The rain takes off her clothes.

The birds go by, fleeing.
The wind. The wind.
I can contend only against the power of men.
The storm whirls dark leaves
and turns loose all the boats that were moored last night to the sky.

You are here. Oh, you do not run away.
You will answer me to the last cry.
Cling to me as though you were frightened.
Even so, at one time a strange shadow ran through your eyes.

Now, now too, little one, you bring me honeysuckle,
and even your breasts smell of it.
While the sad wind goes slaughtering butterflies
I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth.

How you must have suffered getting accustomed to me,
my savage, solitary soul, my name that sends them all running.
So many times we have seen the morning star burn, kissing our eyes,
and over our heads the gray light unwind in turning fans.

My words rained over you, stroking you.
A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body.
I go so far as to think that you own the universe.
I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells,
dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.
I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.

Leonard Cohen, Hallelujah

I heard there was a secret chord
that David played and it pleased the Lord
but you don't really care for music, do you?
Well it goes like this the fourth, the fifth,
the minor fall and the major lift,
the baffled king composing hallelujah


Well your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to her kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the hallelujah


Baby I've been here before
I've seen this room and I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
But love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah


Well there was a time when you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show that to me do you?
But remember when I moved in you
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was hallelujah


Well, maybe there's a god above
But all I've ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you
It's not a cry that you hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah



Blogger FraVernero said...

I'm not personally very fond of Neruda (ideologically, a Stalinist, as illustrated by many direct references in the 'Canto General'; too whitmanesque too) but he does have some nice things when we're talking about his love poetry...
Cohen's a classic, no doubt about that.
And hope you don't mind my commenting briefly some of your previous posts here...

The game of chess reminds me A game at chesse', a famous Jacobean allegorical play by Thomas Middleton, of a strong, anti-catholic smell. I find it delightful (and so did T.S. Eliot). As to the picture, correct me if I'm mistaken: Bogdanov, Gorki and Lenin. Must be from 1906-7 or so, before their dispute and break. A pity, for I am very fond of some of Bogdanov's work and books (his science fiction novel 'Red Mars', his work in the Proletkult and his 'proletary culture' ideas, his 'Tectonics'...).
I remember reading once in a Lenin biography that chess obsessioned and distracted him so much that he ended giving it up altogether...
As to 'Kapital', take your time. I found it more interesting than it seemed (as I tend to hate economics), but so big it took me ages just to finish the first tome. And so easy to get distracted and lose the string... (same to a lesser degree happens to Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, slightly more abstruse).
As to Baudrillard, I have a strange love-hate relationship with him (as with most postmoderns), but I do appreciate him. 'De la Seduction' is probably his best book.


10:46 AM  
Blogger paddington said...

Thanks for your comments. I quite agree wth your comments re. Neruda - his ideology is decidedly dubious. To be honest, the main reason I picked that poem is because my Valentine was Colombian and living a thousand or so miles away, so I wanted something romantic and in Spanish. I think it is worth it just for the cherries line. But, though he is less of a Valentine´s poet, I much prefer Lorca. (I am probably betraying the fact that they are the only two poets I know who write in Spanish).

Re the chess picture, well done on identifying the players. I think it´s a wonderful picture, almost as good as the one of Duchamp playing chess with a nude model. Of course, Duchamp took the opposite view to Lenin - he was so obsessed with chess that he gave up art.

Re. Capital, having nearly finished (the very short) Part II, it is still keeping me interested. I find the most disarming thing about it is its relative lack of polemics. It poses more questions than it answers, and one of the problems I´m finding is that I´m not really sure what the questions are! For now, I´m just going to read it, summarise it on the blog, and then take stock in a while and attempt a bit of analysis.

Re. Baudrillard - I am pretty much unfamililar with his work. But, as much as I suspect a lot of postmodernists, I also think postmodernism is a natural consequence of capitalism, and one which leftists (or, come to that, anyone) avoid at their peril.

Anyway, ta again for your comments.

6:06 PM  

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