Posts Tagged ‘Pablo Neruda’

Ode to Bread

I haven’t been able to get Pablo Neruda’s poetry out of my mind for several weeks now since rehearsing and performing Cary Ratcliff’s, “Ode to Common Things” with Conspirare.  What an amazing, magical experience.  And now to have his poetry float through my head melodically every day. I love it  We sang the poetry in Spanish and one of the sections that keeps coming into my head over and over again is a soprano part:  “…pan, pan, no rezaremos, pan, pan, no mendigaremos….”

Bread. We will not pray; we will not beg for you.

Whenever we sang the “Oda al Pan” movement, I felt a surge of awe and appreciation for Neruda’s brilliance.  His buttery words reflect life, fertility, femininity, love, and humanitarianism all with the simple metaphor of bread.

Here’s a stretch of the English translation:

“O bread familiar to every mouth,
we will not kneel before you:
do not
unclear gods
or obscure angels:
we will make our own bread
out of sea and soil,
we will plant wheat
on our earth and the planets,
bread for every mouth,
for every person,
our daily bread.
Because we plant its seed
and grow it
not for one man
but for all,
there will be enough:
there will be bread
for all the peoples of the earth.
And we will also share with one another
whatever has
the shape and the flavor of bread:
the earth itself,
and love–
taste like bread
and have its shape,
the germination of wheat.
exists to be shared,
to be freely given,
to multiply.”

This poem strikes so many chords right now for me.  I love every word.

Over the last year, our family has felt increasing stress from the recession as we worry about making bread to care for our family. Ultimately, we have a lovely, solid roof over our heads and full bellies every day and countless other blessings that most of the world lacks.  I am confident that my husband and I will both be gainfully employed very soon so that we can get out from under our definition of “under.”  It is all so very relative.

Before I was a mother, I hated to see the suffering of any child.  Now, my heart aches on a deeper level to even hear about it. Neruda’s words serve as a reminder to me to Love, Love, Love and to Cherish and to Give as much as I can to those in need.

Let there be bread for all the peoples of the earth.  Indeed.

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