Posted on 06 December 2007 by tomatocasual

Pablo Neruda\’s “Ode to Tomatoes”

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Pablo Neruda's “Ode to Tomatoes”

By Michelle Fabio

For the past few months, I’ve been a proud contributor to Tomato Casual, trying my darnedest to show just how much I adore what we in Italy call “il pomodoro.”

But months of work don’t even come close to what one of my favorite poets has to say about this “star of earth.”

Here is “Ode to Tomatoes” by Pablo Neruda, as translated by Margaret Sayers Peden

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.

You can find the poem in its original Spanish here

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3 Responses to “Pablo Neruda\’s “Ode to Tomatoes””

  1. tomatocasual Jaclyn Says:

    This poem is so beautiful. Neruda is amazing in the way that he can take the most every day object, like a tomato, and turn it into an incredibly evocative and inspiring poem. This is another one of my favorites by him.

    The Potter

    Your whole body holds
    a goblet or gentle sweetness destined for
    me.

    When I let my hand climb,
    in each place I find a dove
    that was looking for me, as if
    my love, they had made you out of clay
    for my very own potter\’s hands.

    Your knees, your breasts,
    your waist
    are missing in me, like in the hollow
    of a thirsting earth
    where they relinquished
    a form,
    and together
    we are complete like one single river,
    like one single grain of sand.

    -Found on the Red Poppy Website

  2. tomatocasual michelle Says:

    Simply a genius with words, isn’t he? Thank you for sharing The Potter, Jaclyn. With each poem I read of Neruda’s, I have a new favorite….

  3. tomatocasual Tomato Casual »  Why to Choose Tomato Plants as Wedding Favors Says:

    [...] I will add, why not include a little tomato love poem–something like Pablo Neruda\’s poem “Ode to Tomatoes”–on the tag of the plant, and remember to thank your guests for coming and sharing your [...]

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