Ode to Tomatoes

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Ode to Tomatoes {Pablo Neruda also loved them}

tomato, ode to tomatoesHaving read all my notes where tomatoes are a constant subject, and especially this last one where I confessed I’m a tomato snob, my friend, journalist and blogger Orquídea Sanchez-Azorín, sent me the Ode to Tomatoes by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.

Always clever, Orquídea insisted I was not alone in this tomato frenzy. Tomatoes are so wonderful that even Neruda dedicated a poem to them. Then, we talked about the properties attributed to this fruit: healing, relaxing, anti ageing. We also talked about the Tomatina, a truly tomato madness happening the last Wednesday of August in the Spanish town of Buñol, in the Community of Valencia.green tomato, ode to tomatoesShe also sent me an article published in the journal Cauce, in 1978, in which authors Marina Alonso, Rosario Mora, María José García, María José Lucas and Ana María Velasco, refer that Neruda wrote his odes after an offer he got from Venezuelan writer Miguel Otero Silva, who happened to be founder and director of El Nacional newspaper. Otero Silva asked Neruda for a weekly contribution on poetry.

I loved the story. Among other things, I had the privilege of working for El Nacional, one of the three most influent newspaper in my home country. Even if I didn’t meet Miguel Otero Silva, I was New York correspondent and then Chief Economic & Finance Editor for this newspaper. I worked for five years directly with Otero Silva’s son Miguel Henrique and now we follow each other on Twitter.tomatoes, ode to tomatoesNeruda took the job on one condition: instead of being published in the literary supplement, his odes would be published in a section specially dedicated to chronicles.

The Ode to Tomatoes is part of the Elementary Odes written by Neruda when he was a mature poet, in the 1950’s. In them, he portrayed his vision of the world through the simplest things: he praised jobs, people, flowers, fruits, vegetables and among them: tomatoes!tomatoes, ode to tomatoes


Ode To Tomatoes | by Pablo Neruda

The street
filled with tomatoes,
midday,
summer,
light is
halved
like
a
tomato,
its juice
runs
through the streets.
In December,
unabated,
the tomato
invades
the kitchen,
it enters at lunchtime,
takes
its ease
on countertops,
among glasses,
butter dishes,
blue saltcellars.
It sheds
its own light,
benign majesty.
Unfortunately, we must
murder it:
the knife
sinks
into living flesh,
red
viscera
a cool
sun,
profound,
inexhaustible,
populates the salads
of Chile,
happily, it is wed
to the clear onion,
and to celebrate the union
we
pour
oil,
essential
child of the olive,
onto its halved hemispheres,
pepper
adds
its fragrance,
salt, its magnetism;
it is the wedding
of the day,
parsley
hoists
its flag,
potatoes
 bubble vigorously,
the aroma
of the roast
knocks
at the door,
it’s time!
come on!
and, on the table,
at the midpoint
of summer,
the tomato,
star of earth, recurrent
and fertile
star,
displays
its convolutions,
its canals,
its remarkable amplitude
and abundance,
no pit,
no husk,
no leaves or thorns,
the tomato offers
its gift
of fiery color
and cool completeness.

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