Monday, August 30, 2010


Neruda beckoned as my restlessness grew and I happened upon what must be not only the perfect anthem for a Gemini, but the perfect collection of words for anyone who's ever wondered if they're not really who they think they are.

Okay, all this obscure obliqueness aside, here we go -

We are many

Of the many men whom I am, whom we are,
I cannot settle on a single one.
They are lost to me under the cover of clothing
They have departed for another city.
When everything seems to be set
to show me off as a man of intelligence,
the fool I keep concealed on my person
takes over my talk and occupies my mouth.
On other occasions, I am dozing in the midst
of people of some distinction,
and when I summon my courageous self,
a coward completely unknown to me
swaddles my poor skeleton
in a thousand tiny reservations.
When a stately home bursts into flames,
instead of the fireman I summon,
an arsonist bursts on the scene,
and he is I. There is nothing I can do.
What must I do to distinguish myself?
How can I put myself together?
All the books I read
lionize dazzling hero figures,
brimming with self-assurance.
I die with envy of them;
and, in films where bullets fly on the wind,
I am left in envy of the cowboys,
left admiring even the horses.
But when I call upon my DASHING BEING,
out comes the same OLD LAZY SELF,
and so I never know just WHO I AM,
nor how many I am, nor WHO WE WILL BE BEING.
I would be like to be able to touch a bell
and call up my real self, the truly me,
because if I really need my proper self,
I must not allow myself to disappear.
While I am writing, I am far away;
and when I come back, I have already left.
I should like to see if the same thing happens
to other people as it does to me,
to see if as many people are as I am,
and if they seem the same way to themselves.
When this problem has been thoroughly explored,
I am going to school myself so well in things
that, when I try to explain my problems,
I shall speak, not of self, but of geography.

Thus spake Pablo.


T. said...

i think we're all like dat. composed of multiple selves. disappointing ourselves with our behavior, wishing we could really know our true selves. Its a great poem one such as which i really didnt expect neruda to write.

Tangled up in blue... said...

Yeah, I love how Neruda wonders towards the end if there are other people such as know I do that very often myself! ;) and what re, Neruda wrote more stuff apart from tragic love poems..its just that I am more prone to putting up tragic love poems on my blog! :D