Neruda’s lemon

A Lemon

By Pablo Neruda

Out of lemon flowers
on the moonlight, love’s
lashed and insatiable
sodden with fragrance,
the lemon tree’s yellow
the lemons
move down
from the tree’s planetarium

Delicate merchandise!
The harbors are big with it-
for the light and the
barbarous gold.
We open
the halves
of a miracle,
and a clotting of acids
into the starry
original juices,
irreducible, changeless,
so the freshness lives on
in a lemon,
in the sweet-smelling house of the rind,
the proportions, arcane and acerb.

Cutting the lemon
the knife
leaves a little cathedral:
alcoves unguessed by the eye
that open acidulous glass
to the light; topazes
riding the droplets,
aromatic facades.

So, while the hand
holds the cut of the lemon,
half a world
on a trencher,
the gold of the universe
to your touch:
a cup yellow
with miracles,
a breast and a nipple
perfuming the earth;
a flashing made fruitage,
the diminutive fire of a planet. 


Much like my own lemon and possibly yours, Neruda has caught the lemon just in time before its fragrance depletes and its hemispheres turn acidic and barbarous. Sweet lemon , let us make  lemonade  of it , if  we have  far too many of them loosed on the moonlight. The yellow of the lemons drops from the tree’s planetarium,a barbarous gold for sale in the bazaars of the town while the harbors are big with them. The clotting of the acids brims into its starry divisions.

Love the micro description .The lemon flowers are loosed on the moonlight- a visual delight  to imagine the lemon flowers slipping into a rampant moonlight losing themselves in it. The lemon flowers are loosed on the moonlight as some of them do not form fruits and are dropped and some of them turn fruits but lose their identity as flowers. Creation’s  very own juices (not an apple?) are irreducible and changeless in the sweet smelling  house of the rind.

We all have our lemons and  may have to make lemonade  of them. So we cut the lemon and find a little cathedral with its alcoves full of light unguessed by the eye. While the hand holds the cut of the lemon, half of a world on the trencher, the gold of the universe  swells to your touch, much like your girl’s lemon- nipples swelling to your finger-touch in their love.The cup is yellow with miracles, a breast and a nipple perfuming the earth. A flashing made fruitage of the earth the lemon is a diminutive fire of the planet.

Some beautiful images:
Lemons moving down from the planetarium.

Here lemons are astral bodies falling from  the sky-dome. The image is extended later in the metaphor of the diminutive fire of the planet.

The harbors are big with it
Beautiful image of a pregnant belly- the sensuousness of a lemon breast and nipple leading to the mellow fruitfulness of motherhood.

Half a world on a trencher

A lovely image of a cut lemon as the earth’s hemisphere placed on a trencher

Barbarous gold
Unrefined gold, the pure gold that dazzles the eye by its yellow sheen

The cup is yellow with miracles:
Beautiful. The cup is full with miracles, ripe with them.Like leaves turn yellow in autumn. A miracle of transformation of trees to season’s golden yellow.



“Don’t go far off” -A poem by Pablo Neruda

Don’t go far off, not even for a day, be­cause –
be­cause – I don’t know how to say it: a day is long
and I will be wait­ing for you, as in an emp­ty sta­tion
when the trains are parked off some­where else, asleep.

Don’t leave me, even for an hour, be­cause
then the lit­tle drops of an­guish will all run to­geth­er,
the smoke that roams look­ing for a home will drift
in­to me, chok­ing my lost heart.

Oh, may your sil­hou­ette nev­er dis­solve on the beach;
may your eye­lids nev­er flut­ter in­to the emp­ty dis­tance.
Don’t leave me for a sec­ond, my dear­est,

be­cause in that mo­ment you’ll have gone so far
I’ll wan­der mazi­ly over all the earth, ask­ing,
Will you come back? Will you leave me here, dy­ing?

I love Neru­da’s po­ems for the fresh­ness of his im­ages. and the de­light­ful vis­ual pic­tures they draw. Love the sleep­ing train ,parked off some­where else with the trav­el­er wait­ing in an emp­ty sta­tion. The beloved has gone far off but not re­al­ly far off but may be for a day, which is not quite far off in time ex­cept for the seem­ing­ly in­ter­minable wait­ing it en­tails. Like the sleep­ing train parked off else­where, while one is wait­ing for the train in an emp­ty sta­tion. The beloved goes off for a day or may be more but the wait­ing makes it ap­pear as if she has gone off for a long time or for ev­er. Like the train parked off else­where.

Dont go far off,even for a day,says the lover.Like the train parked off ele­se­where.Be­cause I will be wait­ing for you and the day is long. The day is long when one is wait­ing ,even­though the day is like any oth­er day. Like the train parked off else­where with the pas­sen­ger wait­ing in the emp­ty sta­tion with the knowl­edge that the train will not ar­rive any time.

In the sec­ond stan­za the day be­comes an hour be­cause one has al­ready wait­ed enough and ev­ery new hour brings fresh en­nui.  The tears are ex­pe­ri­enced in the com­pres­sion of an hour, all at a time. The smoke that hov­ers in the sky look­ing for a home drifts in­to the lover be­cause he is where it is eas­i­ly con­densed in­to a rain of tears.

May her sil­hou­ette not dis­solve against the set­ting sun as she is go­ing away from him for a day or even for an hour.Be­cause if she dis­solves on the beach she may not re­turn soon­er nor be­fore the night­fall when the beach shall van­ish in­to the night.

In the third stan­za the ab­sence has changed to a mo­ment , from the hour of the sec­ond stan­za and the day of the first stan­za. As the ab­sence grows the wait­ing be­comes more and more un­bear­able and the beloved shall not go off even for a mo­ment. Be­cause in that mo­ment the lover will wan­der mazi­ly over the earth,ask­ing “will you come back,will you leave me here, dy­ing?

“Carnal apple,Woman filled, Burning moon”- By Pablo Neruda

By Pablo Neruda

Carnal apple, Woman filled, burning moon,
dark smell of seaweed, crush of mud and light,
what secret knowledge is clasped between your pillars?
What primal night does Man touch with his senses?
Ay, Love is a journey through waters and stars,
through suffocating air, sharp tempests of grain:
Love is a war of lightning,
and two bodies ruined by a single sweetness.
Kiss by kiss I cover your tiny infinity,
your margins, your rivers, your diminutive villages,
and a genital fire, transformed by delight,
slips through the narrow channels of blood
to precipitate a nocturnal carnation,
to be, and be nothing but light in the dark.

A more sensual poem one cannot find , so much filled with fascinating visual and tactile imagery. “Apple” is highly suggestive, the forbidden apple. A body’s apple, a woman-filled, a burning moon. “Carnal” , a body adjective has its biblical associations. The smell of sea-weed is an olfactory throwback to the green sea from where we had all come. Secret knowledge is clasped between her two pillars, the mysteries of love’s creation. Mark the word clasped, suggesting the strong holding together of her thighs before they are loosened for love. Man touches the primal night with his senses. Love is a journey through the waters and stars, through sharp tempests of grain.Love is a war of lightning .

The most delicious line is “two bodies ruined by a single sweetness” .Bodies ruined because love leaves a heavy toll on them. A common sweetness that destroys the integrity of the individual bodies and lumps them together into a single ecstatic experience.

“Kiss by kiss I cover your tiny infinity” is exquisite.Tiny infinity suggests a tiny space that contains infinity,with her margins, her rivers,her diminutive villages. Her body is infinite space that is astronomer’s delight, an explorer’s passion. An explosion occurs and is transmitted through the narrow blood channels to precipitate a light in the dark.

“A dog has died”– A stanza from Pablo Neruda’s poem



Ai, how many times have I envied his tail
as we walked together on the shores of the sea
in the lonely winter of Isla Negra
where the wintering birds filled the sky
and my hairy dog was jumping about
full of the voltage of the sea’s movement:
my wandering dog, sniffing away
with his golden tail held high,
face to face with the ocean’s spray.

What I like about this stanza is the visual beauty of the lines with some interesting images. The poet envies “the dog’s tail” (not the dog).Imagine the frisky doggy tail against the sea’s waves and the dog jumping about “full of the voltage of the sea’s movement”.The lines are more about the dog’s tail than the dog ,its “golden tail held high” and “‘face to face with the ocean’s spray”. The other pretty image is “the wintering birds filled the sky” ,the migratory birds which have come to roost from far away places filling the sky.

The poet and the dog walked together in the shores of the sea. Note that he did not walk the dog. The dog was a friend and a walking companion .