Having 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.She 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.Neruda 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!
Ode To Tomatoes | by Pablo Neruda