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Dustin LindenSmith

father | musician | writer

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Poverty, by Pablo Neruda

I'm glad to have this book around. I pick it up occasionally, riffle through the pages until I find something interesting, and read it and enjoy it. The introduction said that Neruda was once considered the greatest poet of the 20th century. He's definitely lucid. And his love for this woman (one Matilde Urrutia, according to the introduction) certainly seems to transcend the ordinary.

Ah you don't want to,
you're scared
of poverty,
you don't want
to go to the market with worn-out shoes
and come back with the same old dress.

My love, we not fond,
as the rich would like us to be,
of misery. We
shall extract it like an evil tooth
that up to now has bitten the heart of man.

But I don't want
you to fear it.
If through my fault it comes to your dwelling,
if poverty drives away your golden shoes,
let it not drive away your laughter which is my life's bread.
If you can't pay the rent
go off to work with a proud step,
and remember, my love, that I am watching you
and together we are the greatest wealth
that was ever gather upon the earth.

--Pablo Neruda, from The Captain's Verses, 1952 and 1992