Posts Tagged ‘criticism’

Pablo Neruda: Ode to Criticism II

Posted 05 Feb 2014 — by Jennifer
Category Uncategorized

I came across this Ode the other day, and it was so relevant to the many conversations I have been having at schools this year. I thought I would share it here:

ODE TO CRITICISM (II)

I touched my book:
it was
compact,
solid,
arched
like a white ship,
half open
like a new rose,
it was
to my eyes
a mill,
from each page
of my book
sprouted the flower of bread;
I was blinded by my own rays,
I was insufferably
self-satisfied,
my feet left the ground
and I was walking
on clouds,
and then,
comrade criticism,
you brought me down
to earth,
a single word
showed me suddenly
how much I had left undone,
how far I could go
with my strength and tenderness,
sail with the ship of my song.

I came back a more genuine man,
enriched,
I took what I had
and all you have,
all your travels
across the earth,
everything your eyes
had seen;
all the battles
your heart had fought day after day
aligned themselves
beside me,
and as I held high the flour
of my song,
the flower of the bread smelled sweeter.

I say, thank you,
criticism,
bright mover of the world,
pure science,
sign
of speed, oil
for the eternal human wheel,
golden sword,
cornerstone
of the structure.
Criticism, you’re not the bearer
of the thick, foul
drop
of envy,
the personal scythe,
or ambiguous, curled-up
worm
in the bitter coffee bean,
nor are you part of the scheme
of the old sword swallower and his tribe,
nor the treacherous
tail
of the feudal serpent
always twined around its exquisite branch.

Criticism, you are
a helping
hand,
bubble in the level, mark on the steel,
notable pulsation.

With a single life
I will not learn enough.

With the light of other lives,
many lives will live in my song.

-Pablo Neruda