Quantcast

71st Virtual Poetry Circle


Welcome to the 71st Virtual Circle!

Remember, this is just for fun and is not meant to be stressful.

Keep in mind what Molly Peacock’s books suggested. Look at a line, a stanza, sentences, and images; describe what you like or don’t like; and offer an opinion. If you missed my review of her book, check it out here.

Returning to our theme for the month of Veterans and/or war, we’re going to check out a classic poem from Pablo Neruda about the Spanish Civil War.

I Explain a Few Things

You are going to ask: and where are the lilacs?
and the poppy-petalled metaphysics?
and the rain repeatedly spattering
its words and drilling them full
of apertures and birds?
I’ll tell you all the news.

I lived in a suburb,
a suburb of Madrid, with bells,
and clocks, and trees.

From there you could look out
over Castille’s dry face:
a leather ocean.
My house was called
the house of flowers, because in every cranny
geraniums burst: it was
a good-looking house
with its dogs and children.
Remember, Raul?
Eh, Rafel?        Federico, do you remember
from under the ground
my balconies on which
the light of June drowned flowers in your mouth?
Brother, my brother!
Everything
loud with big voices, the salt of merchandises,
pile-ups of palpitating bread,
the stalls of my suburb of Arguelles with its statue
like a drained inkwell in a swirl of hake:
oil flowed into spoons,
a deep baying
of feet and hands swelled in the streets,
metres, litres, the sharp
measure of life,
stacked-up fish,
the texture of roofs with a cold sun in which
the weather vane falters,
the fine, frenzied ivory of potatoes,
wave on wave of tomatoes rolling down the sea.

And one morning all that was burning,
one morning the bonfires
leapt out of the earth
devouring human beings —
and from then on fire,
gunpowder from then on,
and from then on blood.
Bandits with planes and Moors,
bandits with finger-rings and duchesses,
bandits with black friars spattering blessings
came through the sky to kill children
and the blood of children ran through the streets
without fuss, like children’s blood.

Jackals that the jackals would despise,
stones that the dry thistle would bite on and spit out,
vipers that the vipers would abominate!

Face to face with you I have seen the blood
of Spain tower like a tide
to drown you in one wave
of pride and knives!

Treacherous
generals:
see my dead house,
look at broken Spain :
from every house burning metal flows
instead of flowers,
from every socket of Spain
Spain emerges
and from every dead child a rifle with eyes,
and from every crime bullets are born
which will one day find
the bull’s eye of your hearts.

And you’ll ask: why doesn’t his poetry
speak of dreams and leaves
and the great volcanoes of his native land?

Come and see the blood in the streets.
Come and see
The blood in the streets.
Come and see the blood
In the streets!

Let me know your thoughts, ideas, feelings, impressions.  Let’s have a great discussion…pick a line, pick an image, pick a sentence.

I’ve you missed the other Virtual Poetry Circles.  It’s never too late to join the discussion.

  • I especially like the line “oil flowed into spoons” because it’s mysterious, and it reminds me of being a child and watching one of my parents beat something in a mixing bowl–it looked like that, like magic, like the batter was somehow going in and out of the spoon. It gets me to the end of the poem with some of that child-like wonder at everything that’s going on.

  • What a powerful poem! The ending certainly packs a punch, gets your attention, and you really feel how horrible the war was for those who witnessed it. I really need to read more of his poetry.
    Anna´s last blog post ..Guest Post- Thaisa Frank- Author of Heidegger’s Glasses

  • Tea

    I can feel the sadness of children dying bloody deaths in this poem. This is why the person doesn’t talk about just the beauty and wonder of his country.

    And you’ll ask: why doesn’t his poetry
    speak of dreams and leaves
    and the great volcanoes of his native land?

    I couldn’t understand the way he described the ocean. He described it as “leather.”

    From there you could look out
    over Castille’s dry face:
    a leather ocean.

    I love his mention of “geraniums.” My father’s favorite flowers were red geraniums in window boxes.

  • Tea

    I love Pablo Neruda too. You can get a movie about him at Netflix. I have forgotten the name of it. It’s very enjoyable. I’m going to try this meme. I’m going to print the poem out because it’s so long. Thanks for the button. This is going to be fun.

  • bookworm

    I’m a big fan of Nerudas work. He had such a fantastic way of infusing pain and or beauty into his work.

    Due to the subject matter, this poem is of course sad and angry.
    I think here he refers to karma. What goes around, comes around type of thing:
    ‘and from every crime bullets are born
    which will one day find
    the bull’s eye of your hearts.’
    bookworm´s last blog post ..TGIF- Enjoy your weekend

    • I agree about the lines you selected. I really enjoy poets that take that line with war, etc. I think that whatever one person does in this life will come back to haunt you. It’s better to live in peace…perhaps its my love the Buddhist teachings.

      I also enjoy these lines:

      Face to face with you I have seen the blood
      of Spain tower like a tide
      to drown you in one wave
      of pride and knives!

      Thanks for stopping by this week.