Guest Observation: The Names of Things

From the “I Should Really Go to Bed” Department (Kate and the dog have gone off to sleep, and I’m sitting up here alone), there’s this nugget from Pablo Neruda’s poem “Too Many Names”:

“… When I sleep all these nights,

what am I named or not named?

And when I wake up who am I

if I wasn’t when I was asleep? …

“… I intend to confuse things,

to unite things, make them new-born,

intermingle them, undress them,

until the light of the world

has the unity of the ocean,

a generous wholeness,

a fragrance alive and crackling.”

The translation? It’s by Stephen Mitchell, who lives a few blocks from us, I hear. It’s in his book of selected Neruda poems, “Full Woman, Fleshly Apple, Hot Moon.”

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