Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Dear All:

Today we continue our discovery of Pablo Neruda. This poem is particularly timely because local tomatoes are just coming into season. We ate the first one from our back yard a few days ago and there’s a second one almost ripe on its vine.

Ode To Tomatoes
by Pablo Neruda

The street
filled with tomatoes,
light is


its juice
through the streets.

[The rest of the poem has been removed because it’s almost certainly still in copyright. But I doubt you’ll have any trouble finding it on the Web.]

Oh, man, it makes me want to eat a tomato right now! Not a store-bought tomato. Not one of those flavorless crunchy things that are bred for looks, the hardiness to withstand shipping, and the ability to finish ripening just as they hit the stores. No. A real tomato, plucked from the vine and sliced and eaten on the spot. Sun-warm, with the juice running down your chin.

You’ll note that there is no allegorical reading of this poem. The tomato stands for nothing but itself. That’s part of the poet’s job, too: To make you aware of what’s right in front of you. To help you celebrate the richness of the quotidian.

Great word, quotidian. Look it up.

All best,


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