Friday, August 18, 2006

"Your laughter"

Take bread away from me, if you wish,
take air away, but
do not take from me your laughter.

Do not take away the rose,
the lance flower that you pluck,
the water that suddenly
bursts forth in joy,
the sudden wave
of silver born in you.

My struggle is harsh and I come back
with eyes tired
at times from having seen
the unchanging earth,
but when your laughter enters
it rises to the sky seeking me
and it opens for me all
the doors of life.

My love, in the darkest
hour your laughter
opens, and if suddenly
you see my blood staining
the stones of the street,
laugh, because your laughter
will be for my hands
like a fresh sword.

Next to the sea in the autumn,
your laughter must raise
its foamy cascade,
and in the spring, love,
I want your laughter like
the flower I was waiting for,
the blue flower, the rose
of my echoing country.

Laugh at the night,
at the day, at the moon,
laugh at the twisted
streets of the island,
laugh at this clumsy
boy who loves you,
but when I open
my eyes and close them,
when my steps go,
when my steps return,
deny me bread, air,
light, spring,
but never your laughter
for I would die.

Pablo Neruda

-- I am back again after numerous weeks of forgetting to post right after Sharon!! Thanks for the reminders Eugene and apologies as I have been caught up with the constraints of travelling and losing track of days. No excuses - here's Your Laughter - one of my favourite poems because historically it was the first ever poem I received from a boy :) I used to laugh a lot as a child.

I remembered it today as I was driving and heard the words "laughter the best medicine" and it evoked memories of the poem and the warm feelings that I get whenever I read it. Let me know your thoughts.


Blogger whoami123 said...


We work like a horse.
We eat like a pig.
We like to play chicken.
You can get someone's goat.
We can be as slippery as a snake.
We get dog tired.
We can be as quiet as a mouse.
We can be as quick as a cat.
Some of us are as strong as an ox.
People try to buffalo others.
Some are as ugly as a toad.
We can be as gentle as a lamb.
Sometimes we are as happy as a lark.
Some of us drink like a fish.
We can be as proud as a peacock.
A few of us are as hairy as a gorilla.
You can get a frog in your throat.
We can be a lone wolf.
But I'm having a whale of a time!

You have a riveting web log
and undoubtedly must have
atypical & quiescent potential
for your intended readership.
May I suggest that you do
everything in your power to
honor your encyclopedic/omniscient
Designer/Architect as well
as your revering audience.
As soon as we acknowledge
this Supreme Designer/Architect,
Who has erected the beauteous
fabric of the universe, our minds
must necessarily be ravished with
wonder at this infinate goodness,
wisdom and power.

Please remember to never
restrict anyone's opportunities
for ascertaining uninterrupted
existence for their quintessence.

There is a time for everything,
a season for every activity
under heaven. A time to be
born and a time to die. A
time to plant and a time to
harvest. A time to kill and
a time to heal. A time to
tear down and a time to
rebuild. A time to cry and
a time to laugh. A time to
grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones
and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a
time to turn away. A time to
search and a time to lose.
A time to keep and a time to
throw away. A time to tear
and a time to mend. A time
to be quiet and a time to
speak up. A time to love
and a time to hate. A time
for war and a time for peace.

Best wishes for continued ascendancy,
Dr. Whoami

P.S. One thing of which I am sure is
that the common culture of my youth
is gone for good. It was hollowed out
by the rise of ethnic "identity politics,"
then splintered beyond hope of repair
by the emergence of the web-based
technologies that so maximized and
facilitated cultural choice as to make
the broad-based offerings of the old
mass media look bland and unchallenging
by comparison."

9:39 AM, August 18, 2006  
Blogger Sharanya Manivannan said...

Thanks, Sham. There's nothing like a good Neruda. :)

11:45 PM, August 18, 2006  
Blogger Spot said...

Eeeee. Am I the only one getting a morbid vibe here?

It's the kind of thing I'd expect an obssessive stalker to give his stalkee just before he kills himself. Right in front of her.

Rose. Lance.
This brings up the imagery of blood, piercing instruments. The literal combination is medieval and casts romanticism on his description of his tired eyes, the unchanging earth, his harsh struggle. A kind of tragic chivalry.

That he uses the metaphors of blood and cuts in the context of laughter as a “wave of silver born in you” implies that he knows that the laughing person is laughing AT him, in mockery.

Instead of finding salvation/relief (the reference to his hands and his darkest hour), he receives mocking laughter.

Yet he is so desperate for the attention that ...even mocking laughter is better than nothing.

That bit about wanting the laughter like the blue flower he’d been waiting for. Could he mean the periwinkle, a blue flower associated with death? Or a blue rose, which doesn’t exist in nature?

I dunno. I think it sounds really sad.

4:58 PM, August 22, 2006  
Blogger dreamer idiot said...

Yes, Spot, I think you have a point. There could be a dark edge to this poem, undeniably romantic that it is. Perhaps, there is a complexity of tone and voice at work.

As you pointed out, the redness in the imagery of both rose and blood are brought together as antithetical yet conjoined parts of both love and the heartfelt pain (suffering?), especially the latter with the image of blood spilled on the street. Also, the poem begins as a plea. expressed negatively "do not...", rounding off at the end on the same sad note.

Nevertheless, this poem's 'negativity' could also be taken as hyberbolic declarations from a lovelern guy to a woman who hasn't accepted him yet... courting her with his show of words.

1:27 AM, August 23, 2006  
Blogger madcap machinist said...

"It's the kind of thing I'd expect an obssessive stalker to give his stalkee just before he kills himself. Right in front of her."

Haha, I wonder what Sham would think of that :-) But I agree, this poem has a tragic feel to it...

A dark, poignant poem... I like it! For how often on days that we feel discouraged the only thing that could rescue us is the sound of laughter?

5:25 AM, August 23, 2006  
Blogger Sham said...

Well since I am very much alive and kicking and the person who sent me thep poem is also very much alive but not so much kicking anymore - I think we both took at it it's face level!!

9:23 AM, August 23, 2006  
Blogger dreamer idiot said...

Sham, a literal interpreation is also nice. It suggests innocence, like how that boy romantically shared that poem with you. I must remember to try it some time with a girl. Haha.

7:21 PM, August 24, 2006  
Blogger madcap machinist said...

Oh yes DI, I think that it's a nice poem to share with a girl... :-) Hopefully she won't think it too morbid!

12:53 AM, August 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:05 PM, March 11, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:06 PM, March 11, 2010  

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