pablo neruda ‘ode to the present’

I don’t often talk about other artists in this blog. In life, I engage that subject all the time, but here it’s mostly about my own creative process & results. Today, however, I found a beautiful poem written by Chilean poet and extraordinary human Pablo Neruda that I felt I wanted to share. Print it out, post it on your closet, kitchen cupboard, your night stand. I believe it has the power to change your life. Or at least the way you view it…

Ode to the Present

present moment,
as a wooden slab,
immaculate hour,
this day
as a new cup
from the past–
no spider web
with our fingers,
we caress
the present;we cut it
according to our magnitude
we guide
the unfolding of its blossoms.
It is living,
it contains
from the unrepairable past,
from the lost past,
it is our
growing at
this very moment, adorned with
sand, eating from
our hands.
Grab it.
Don’t let it slip away.
Don’t lose it in dreams
or words.
Clutch it.
Tie it,
and order it
to obey you.
Make it a road,
a bell,
a machine,
a kiss, a book,
a caress.
Take a saw to its delicious
And make a chair;
braid its
test it.
Or then, build
a staircase!Yes, a
the present,
by step,
press your feet
onto the resinous wood
of this moment,
going up,
going up,
not very high,
just so
you repair
the leaky roof.
Don’t go all the way to heaven.
for apples,
not the clouds.
Let them
fluff through the sky,
skimming passage,
into the past.You
your present,
your own apple.
Pick it from
your tree.
Raise it
in your hand.
It’s gleaming,
rich with stars.
Claim it.
Take a luxurious bite
out of the present,
and whistle along the road
of your destiny.


For more about Pablo Neruda, see Pablo Neruda: The Poet’s Calling directed by Mexican director Carlos Bolado and Mark Eisner. Or, Neruda is a 120 min documentary about his life and poetry by the German filmmaker Ebbo Demant.  Or read one of his many books that has been translated into English. [Il Postino, the beautifully crafted film that was nominated for a slew of awards in 1994, was a fictional account using Neruda’s exile in Italy as a springboard for a poetic love story].


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