I stayed suspended and green
between sun and geography –
I saw how wings worked,
how perfumes are transmitted
by feathery telegraph,
and from above I saw the path,
the springs and the roof tiles,
the fishermen at their trades,
the trousers of the foam;
I saw it all from my green sky.
I had no more alphabet
than the swallows in their courses,
the tiny, shining water
of the small bird on fire
which dances out of the pollen.
by Pablo Neruda, from Fully Empowered, 1962
translated from the Spanish by Alastair Reid
Tag Archives: Pablo Neruda
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
And it was at that age … Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don’t know, I don’t know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don’t know how or when,
no they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.
I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.
And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.
by Pablo Neruda
To paraphrase Dr. Jordan Peterson from a recent TED lecture, “there are things that you know deeply, you just don’t know that you know them.” Creative process is a way to allow the known unknown to surface through the arts. Encountering the known unknown often leads to the emotional experience of awe. We risk a leap of faith from what is known into what is not yet known. This is the experience of not having the words to describe, feeling deeply moved, touched, terrified and fascinated simultaneously. Neruda’s poem conveys the experience of being summoned and touched, and then “my mouth had no way with names[…]something stirred in my soul”. Creative process is a way to allow known unknown treasure to surface. The expressive arts have the potential to inspire and reflect back what we most need to know in a form that may be both seen, shaped and shared.
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