Poetry Friday: Ode to a Large Tuna in the Market

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This is one of my most treasured books: Pablo Neruda’s Ode to Common Things. It is full of perfect, deceptively simple seeming poems in praise of ordinary objects and creatures. To me, it speaks of what poetry is meant to be – to make us consider beauty in what is around us everyday. Go and get it just to read Ode to some yellow flowers, or for Ferris Cook’s plain and evocative pencil drawings. I think it would make just the right gift for a young person heading out into the world on their own to school, or to adventure. I know it has offered me many zen moments in crazy times of my life.Ode to a Large Tuna in the Market is not from this book, though it possesses the same spirit and purpose – the celebration of a simple thing. I had not read it until yesterday and it makes me want to sit down and write a poem about my kitchen table or my favourite rolling pin or the pear I ate for lunch.

Ode to a Large Tuna in the Market – by Pablo Neruda

Here,
among the market vegetables,
this torpedo
from the ocean
depths,
a missile
that swam,
now
lying in front of me
dead.

Surrounded
by the earth’s green froth
– these lettuces,
bunches of carrots –
only you
lived through
the sea’s truth, survived
the unknown, the
unfathomable
darkness, the depths
of the sea,
the great
abyss,
le grand abime,
only you:
varnished
black-pitched
witness
to that deepest night…
Read the rest at Poetry Foundation. (Still going to have sushi for dinner?)🙂

16 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Ode to a Large Tuna in the Market

  1. Kelly Fineman

    I think I must look for that book. Although hubby got me I Explain a Few Things for Chanukah, and I’ve been working my way through it. I find I can read the Spanish passably well, even.

  2. shelfelf Post author

    Yes – go buy it, one and all! It is pretty to look at and offers plenty to think about.

  3. Laura Salas

    Amazing. Love the ending:

    the only
    true
    machine
    of the sea: unflawed,
    undefiled,
    navigating now
    the waters of death.

    Wow. Thank you for introducing me to this poem!

  4. shelfelf Post author

    Glad you liked it. I agree the ending is incredible. I love “the only true machine of the sea.”

  5. Grace Ainsworth

    The ending is great. Thank you for introducing me!
    “the only true machine of the sea.”

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