Ode To the Smell of Wood by Pablo Neruda (LJ poem)

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Forum topic by mafe posted 08-30-2010 11:14 PM 7428 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11725 posts in 3084 days

08-30-2010 11:14 PM

Topic tags/keywords: poem

Ode to wood by Pablo Neruda
selected Odes by Jason Espada.

Oh, of all I know
and know well,
of all things,
is my best friend.
I wear through the world
on my body, in my clothing,
the scent
of the sawmill,
the odor of red wood.
My heart, my senses,
were saturated
in my childhood
with the smell of trees
that fell in great forests
filled with future building.
I heard when they scourged
the gigantic
the forty-meter laurel.
The ax and the wedge
of the tiny woodsman begin to bite into
the haughty column;
man conquers and the
aromatic column falls,
the earth trembles, mute
thunder, a black sob
of roots, and then
a wave
of forest odors
flooded my senses.
It was in my childhood, on
distant, damp earth
in the forests of the south,
in fragrant green
I saw
roof beams born,
railroad ties
dense as iron,
slim and resonant boards.
The saw squealed,
of its steely love,
the keen band whined,
the metallic lament
of the saw cutting
the loaf of the forest,
a mother in birth throes
giving birth in the midst
of the light,
of the woods,
ripping open the womb
of nature,
castles of wood,
houses for man,
schools, coffins,
tables and ax handles.
in the forest
lies sleeping
beneath moist leaves,
a man
driving in the wedge
and hefting the ax
to hack at the pure
solemnity of the tree,
and the tree
thunder and fragrance fall
so that from them will be born
structures, forms,
from the hands of the man.
I know you, I love you,
I saw you born, wood.
That’s why
when I touch you
you respond
like a lover,
you show me
your eyes and your grain,
your knots, your blemishes,
your veins
like frozen rivers.
I know
the song
they sang
on the voice of the wind,
I hear
a stormy night,
the galloping
of a horse through deep woods,
I touch you and you open
like a faded rose
that revives for me alone,
an aroma and fire
that had seemed dead.
sordid paint
I divine your pores,
choked, you call to me
and I hear you,
I feel
the shuddering
of trees that shaded
and amazed my childhood,
I see
emerge from you
like a soaring wave
or dove
wings of books,
tomorrow s
for man,
pure paper for the pure man
who will live tomorrow
and who today is being born
to the sound of a saw,
to a tearing
of light, sound, and blood.
In the sawmill
of time
dark forests fall,
is born
black leaves fall,
and thunder threatens,
death and life
speak at once
and like a violin rises
the song, the lament,
of the saw in the forest,
and so wood is born
and begins to travel the
until becoming a silent builder
cut and pierced by steel,
until it suffers and protects,
the dwelling
where every day
man, wife, and life
will come together.

Here are two link for more of Pablo Neruda’s wonderful poems.
A selection of his poems press here.
Selected Odes of Pablo Neruda press here.

Hope it can bring some beautiful images for some fellow LJ’s,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

9 replies so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3110 days

#1 posted 08-30-2010 11:21 PM

thank´s Mads for posting
this a niice poem , I like it :-)

take care

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3336 days

#2 posted 08-30-2010 11:38 PM

good poem
all we do and feel is here

what a barren world
without wood
to nurture us in living

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View 's profile

593 posts in 3967 days

#3 posted 08-31-2010 01:45 AM

In case any of you guys care for, here is the original:

Ay, de cuanto conozco
y reconozco
entre todas las cosas
es la madera
mi mejor amiga.
Yo llevo por el mundo
en mi cuerpo, en mi ropa,
de aserradero,
olor de tabla roja.
Mi pecho, mis sentidos
se impregnaron
en mi infancia
de árboles que caían
de grandes bosques llenos
de construcción futura.
Yo escuché cuando azotan
el gigantesco
el laurel alto de cuarenta metros.

El hacha y la cintura
del hachero minúsculo
de pronto picotean
su columna arrogante,
el hombre vence y cae
la columna de aroma,
tiembla la tierra, un trueno
sordo, un sollozo negro
de raíces, y entonces
una ola
de olores forestales
inundó mis sentidos.
Fue en mi infancia, fue sobre
la húmeda tierra, lejos
en las selvas del Sur,
en los fragantes, verdes
fueron naciendo vigas,
espesos como el hierro,
delgadas y sonoras.
La sierra rechinaba
sus amores de acero,
aullaba el hilo agudo,
el lamento metálico
de la sierra cortando
el pan del bosque
como madre en el parto,
y daba a luz en medio
de la luz
y la selva
desgarrando la entraña
de la naturaleza,
castillos de madera,
viviendas para el hombre,
escuelas, ataúdes,
mesas y mangos de hacha.
allí en el bosque
dormía bajo las hojas mojadas
un hombre
torciendo la cintura
y levantando el hacha
a picotear la pura
solemnidad del árbol
y éste
trueno y fragancia caen
para que nazca de ellos
la construcción, la forma,
el edificio,
de las manos del hombre.
Te conozco, te amo,
te vi nacer, madera.
Por eso
si te toco
me respondes
como un cuerpo querido,
me muestras
tus ojos y tus fibras,
tus nudos, tus lunares,
tus vetas
como inmóviles ríos.
Yo sé
lo que ellos
con la voz del viento,
la noche respetuosa,
el galope
del caballo en la selva,
te toco y te abres
como una rosa seca
que sólo para mí resucitara
el aroma y el fuego
que parecían muertos.
de la pintura sórdida
adivino tus poros,
ahogada me llamas
y te escucho,
los árboles
que asombraron mi infancia,
salir de ti,
como un vuelo de océano
y palomas,
las alas de los libros,
el papel de mañana
para el hombre,
el papel puro para el hombre puro
que existirá mañana
y que hoy está naciendo
con un ruido de sierra,
con un desgarramiento
de luz, sonido y sangre.
Es el aserradero
del tiempo,
la selva oscura, oscuro
el hombre,
caen las hojas negras
y nos oprime el trueno,
hablan al mismo tiempo
la muerte y la vida,
como un violín se eleva
el canto o el lamento
de la sierra en el bosque,
y así nace y comienza
a recorrer el mundo
la madera,
hasta ser constructora silenciosa
cortada y perforada por el hierro,
hasta sufrir y proteger
la vivienda
en donde cada día
se encontrarán el hombre, la mujer
y la vida.

Pablo Neruda

View mafe's profile


11725 posts in 3084 days

#4 posted 08-31-2010 02:02 AM

Thank you Dennis.
David, yes this was so clear to me when I read this.
And thank you . for the original text.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Tony_S's profile


867 posts in 3078 days

#5 posted 08-31-2010 02:39 AM

“That’s why
when I touch you
you respond
like a lover”

About a year ago….I was in a small quaint furniture shop in the Mountains. They had a HUGE table with a 4” thick Walnut slab top, live edge…absolutely gorgeous. As I was running my hands up, down…under and over the top, the lady who owned the store walked up to me and said….”I’d be willing to bet that you build fine furniture.” Surprised, I asked her how she knew.
She told me she watched me for a few minutes…..and from the look of pure lust on my face, and the way I was caressing the walnut top….she wasn’t sure if she should approach me….or draw the curtains on the front window!! LOL!!
She said, such a deep appreciation for a slab of Walnut could only mean one thing….

Come to think of it…..maybe THAT”S why I’m twice divorced!!! LOL!!

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3054 days

#6 posted 08-31-2010 09:39 AM

It drives my wife crazy. We will be out somewhere and a piece of furnitur will catch my eye or even hardwood fooring, but I will be drawn to a piece of wood and the grain and how some craftsman or, in some cases, pure chance put something very beautiful there for us all to see. Just tonight, I was waiting for a table to be ready at a restaurant and went to the bar for a drink while waiting. I could not help but notice the tight grained and amber color of the heart pine that the bar top had been made from. Call it lust, call it an addiction, but when you get hooked on this stuff, it gets into you deeply. Mads thanks for posting that poem. Very, very cool my friend.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View Flemming's profile


417 posts in 2891 days

#7 posted 08-31-2010 08:52 PM

words to live by :)
never forget what mother nature provides for us and that this is in fact what she wants to do. it’s when we get greedy she gets nasty.

love the poem mads, thanks for the inspiration again :)

-- Flemming. It's only a mistake if you can't fix it.

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 2935 days

#8 posted 08-31-2010 09:03 PM

beautiful words, brother. Thank you!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View mafe's profile


11725 posts in 3084 days

#9 posted 09-01-2010 04:07 PM

Ohh yes, I know the feeling – to just have to touch a beautiful piece of wood, or just passing a old table leg in the street, and have to bring it home, since it’s so full of life.
Tony, I smille, the divorce are perhaps a reminder for us sometimes to adjust our focus, for me it has been a wonderful learning experince to be divorced, and I’m a better man today, so I have no regreds.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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