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"Ode to the Artichoke" By Pablo Neruda Translated by Phillip Hill The tender-hearted artichoke dressed up as a warrior, erect, it built itself a little dome, it kept itself impregnable beneath its armoured leaves, beside it the raving vegetables began to frizzle, they turned themselves into tendrils, bullrushes, touching bulbs, below the ground the red-moustachioed carrot slept, the vine dried out its shoots through which wine climbs, the leafy cabbage took to trying on skirts, oregano to scenting the world, and the sweet artichoke there in the garden, was dressed as a warrior, burnished like a grenade and proud, and one day assembled with its fellows in large wicker baskets, it walked through the market to make its dream of soldiery come true. In ranks it never was so military as at the market, the men among the vegetables with their white shirts were marshals of the artichokes the serried files, the ordering voices, and the report of a fallen crate, but then Maria comes along and with her basket, picks out an artichoke she isn't scared, she scrutinizes it, considers it against the light as if it were an egg, and buys it, tossing it into her bag jumbled together with a pair of shoes, a cabbage and a bottle full of vinegar until when entering her kitchen she plunges it into a pot. Thus ends in peace the enlistment of this armed vegetable called the artichoke, after which leaf after leaf we undress its deliciousness and eat the peaceful substance of its green heart. "Oda a la alcachofa" By Pablo Neruda (Original Spanish) La alcachofa de tierno corazón se vistió de guerrero, erecta, construyó una pequeña cúpula, se mantuvo impermeable bajo sus escamas, a su lado los vegetales locos se encresparon, se hicieron zarcillos, espadañas, bulbos conmovedores, en el subsuelo durmió la zanahoria de bigotes rojos, la viña resecó los sarmientos por donde sube el vino, la col se dedicó a probarse faldas, el orégano a perfumar el mundo, y la dulce alcachofa allí en el huerto, vestida de guerrero, bruñida como una granada, orgullosa, y un día una con otra en grandes cestos de mimbre, caminó por el mercado a realizar su sueño: la milicia. En hileras nunca fue tan marcial como en la feria, los hombres entre las legumbres con sus camisas blancas eran mariscales de las alcachofas, las filas apretadas, las voces de comando, y la detonación de una caja que cae, pero entonces viene María con su cesto, escoge una alcachofa, no le teme, la examina, la observa contra la luz como si fuera un huevo, la compra, la confunde en su bolsa con un par de zapatos, con un repollo y una botella de vinagre hasta que entrando a la cocina la sumerge en la olla. Así termina en paz esta carrera del vegetal armado que se llama alcachofa, luego escama por escama desvestimos la delicia y comemos la pacífica pasta de su corazón verde.
@hikaymm - I also loved that! I never thought of artichokes having armor around a soft heart, and I really love the imagery. I want to read your Ode to Potatoes! Consider this a challenge :) @TechAtHeart glad you enjoyed it!
The military language and theme throughout really makes me proud of the artichoke: which is not something I even though I'd say. I now want to write an Ode to Potatoes, my dear dear potatoes...
Also, although I hate to risk bringing out something too obvious...I think this is one of my favorite uses of metaphor to describe the way we guard ourselves and our private softness and sensitivity. Our "peaceful" insides.
Another great poem by Neruda :)
@WordDoctor Challenge accepted, but I can't promise any speed on getting it finished quickly!! :)
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