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The Sea and the Bells

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4.27  ·  Rating details ·  485 ratings  ·  54 reviews
The sound of ships' bells, sea waves, and migratory birds fuel Neruda's longing to retreat from life's noisy busyness. Stripped to essentials, these poems are some of the last Neruda ever wrote, as he pulled "one dream out of another." Includes the final lovesong to his wife, written in the past tense: "It was beautiful to live / When you lived!" Bilingual with introductio ...more
Paperback, 124 pages
Published January 1st 2002 by Copper Canyon Press (first published 1972)
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Average rating 4.27  · 
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Brina
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, poetry, chile
The first book I completed this year was The Postman by Antonio Skarmeta which details the unlikely friendship between a postman in Isla Negra and the poet Pablo Neruda. Over the course of his life, Neruda has morphed into something bigger than himself. He was a three time ambassador and embodied the spirit of the people of Chile, a country he calls a long petal of the sea at the end of the earth. Isabel Allende includes at least one Neruda quote in each of her books that take place in their sha ...more
Kathleen
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Pablo Neruda is no longer just my favorite poet. His poetry has become one of the things I love most … period.

There is a short list of people (well, one person), places (a balcony on the coast of Corfu), foods (Parisian baguette sandwich), music (giving myself two here: Bach and Joni Mitchell), novels (almost impossible to pick one, but I’m going with Their Eyes Were Watching God) that are so luscious to me that I could spend forever enjoying them. I’m adding the poetry of Pablo Neruda to this l
...more
Edita
Sep 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, pablo-neruda
monotonous is my song,
my word is a shadow bird,
fauna of stone and sea, the grief
or a winter planet, incorruptible.
Forgive me this sequence of water,
of rock, of foam, of the tide’s
delirium: this is my loneliness:
salt in sudden leaps against the walls
of my secret being, in such a way
that I am a part
of winter,
of the same flat expanse that repeats from bell to bell, in wave after wave,
and from a silence like a woman’s hair, a silence of seaweed, a sunken song.
Lettie Prell
Jan 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
A friend of mine who died of AIDS before the best drugs had been developed used to spend weeks at a time in a small town in Mexico. He would sit in the plaza and write poetry in English and Spanish. Before he became too sick, he made a Mexican meal for a group of us friends. I especially remember the tamales wrapped in corn husk, and the flan. After he died, I at times eat tamales, or flan, in his memory. I also read Pablo Neruda out loud. Each poem is displayed with the original Spanish on one ...more
mwpm
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Hour by hour, the day does not pass,
it passes sadness by sadness:
time does not wrinkle,
it doesn't run out:
sea, the sea says,
without rest,
earth, the earth says:
man waits.
And only
his bell
rings above the others
keeping in its emptiness
the implacable silence
that will be parceled out when
its metallic tongue rises, wave after wave.

Once I had so much,
walking on my knees through the world:
here, naked,
I have nothing more than the stark noon
of the sea, and one bell.

They give me their voice to feel the pain
...more
Teya Z
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Note: contextualize before reading
Billy O'Callaghan
One of Neruda's late books, 'The Sea and the Bells' is also one of his most magnificent, possessed as it is, in the face of an impending end, of wisdom and acceptance for a life lived, time passed, an understanding of the interconnection and the timelessness of precious moments.
The sea dominates these pages, its relentless tides and eternal quality, but also its loneliness. And in company, striking images of bells, shaping the waves, calling out, tolling, perhaps ringing life away.

Because it is
...more
David
Jun 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Wow what a gem. I picked this book up on vacation from a tiny book store on one of tje islands in Puget Sound and loved every page. Part of eight books of poems that Neruda wrote for his 70th birthday (and died just before) this book reflects upon his life, his love of his wife Matilde and life on Isla Negra. They are short concise and very melodic. I am learning spanish and this bilingual edition adds to my growing vocabulary. Read the Spanish aloud first, even if you don't know the language to ...more
Jack
Sep 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Almost all of Neruda's work I had previously read was from his younger years; this was written and compiled in his last year of life. I was moved by how laid bare the writing had become, the intimate description of what was then most important to him. So little ego, so much contemplative appreciation. This little number sure struck a chord:

With my hands I must
beckon: somebody please come.
Here is what I have and what I owe,
please listen to the count, the story, and the sound.
m.
Jul 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
There is a peculiar, melancholy joy to many of these poems that feels as if it can only come from knowing you are soon to leave the world that you love fiercely. This book is mortal and beautiful and heartbreaking, and it's everything that poetry ought to be.
Erica
Apr 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Erica by: It was sitting on Hal's and Teresa's toilet
These poems make me fall in love with the world over and over again.
Alison
May 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: must-read
lost in the senses. totally captivating. romantic. lost in beautiful images. it's like cool rain falling on waves of a distant, grey, hazy ocean.
David Anthony Sam
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Neruda's last and unfinished collection still contains a number of poems that are as wonderful as any her has written. These poems are both very person, such as the last poem he wrote to his beloved, Matilde ("Finale"), but also touch the universal if not the mythic ("Returning").

Many of these poems feel unfinished, not just because they have no titles, but they lack that final quality of workmanship Neruda gives to his collections as they are published. Read this collection regardless. Neruda
...more
Matt Sautman
Aug 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Aesthetically, something about Neruda’s poems in this collection didn’t necessarily connect with me. Perhaps this is due in part to the fact this collection is posthumous and many of the poems are untitled. There is some good sea imagery here but I often found myself questioning what these poems signify, what are they capturing that no other poems could capture. Maybe one day I recognize brilliance here that I may presently be overlooking, but I wonder if this might just be a bad collection for ...more
Dalena Tran
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There are spacious swells and wanes of rhythm depicting the forces of nature that endure the entropy of time. And though this is as striking as flesh and muscle, there are places of complete rest where silence and loneliness endure. Humble and merciful as it tries to be, at the center of this loneliness is where the human whimper breeds all lost confrontation.
Lea Taranto
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sparse but luxurious. With sharp powerfully emotional moments some mournful like the toll of funeral bells and others as achingly bright and joyous as sunshine on sea waves. There is a solemn splendour to these poems
Jenny M
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of Neruda's last published works. It contains my favorite line of his poetry...
"Así cada mañana de mi vida/traigo del sueño otro sueño"
Nadia Brent
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beautiful
Paul
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing poetry! Probably one of, if not, the most philosophical work of Pablo Neruda. Outstanding! A must read for all his fans and for poetry aficionados.
Shilo
Oct 07, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Neruda but this one just didn't really do it for me.
Steve Scott
Dec 27, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: poetry
A sample of the work and a portion of a critique I leveled at it on Facebook:

"In fullest June a woman entered my life, no, it was an orange. The scene is blurred: they knocked on the door: it was a gust of wind, a whiplash of light, an ultraviolet tortoise, I focused on it with the slowness of a telescope, as if it were far away or once inhabited this vestment of stars, and by an error of astronomy had entered my house."

Now some of my problems with this might be due to difficulties in translatio
...more
Ahlam
Aug 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
It was beautiful to live
when you lived!
*****
The whole human earth was bleeding.
Time, buildings, routes, rain,
erase the constellation of the crime,
the fact is, this small planet
has been covered a thousand times by blood,
war or vengeance, ambush or battle,
people fell, they were devoured,
and later oblivion wiped clean
each square meter: sometimes
a vague, dishonest monument,
other times a clause in bronze,
and still later, conversations, births,
townships, and then oblivion.
What arts we have for extermi
...more
Imen  Benyoub
Jan 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: chile
It rains
over the sand, over the roof
the theme
of rhe rain :
the long Is of rain fall slowly
over the pages
of my everlasting love,
this salt of every day:
rain, return to your old nest,
return with your needles to the past:
today I long for the whitest space,
winter's whiteness for a branch
of green rosebush and golden roses:
something of infinite spring
that today was waiting, under a cloudless sky
and whiteness was waiting,
when the rain returned
to sadly drum
a gainst the window,
then to dance with unmeasured
...more
Kirk
Mar 24, 2013 rated it liked it
I was led to this book by the music group Rachel's and their eponymous album inspired by Neruda. The liner notes have a few excerpts of poetry, presumably all from Neruda. I'd also thought that all of the excerpts were from this book, but I wasn't able to find one that starts off with

When I see you again
I will be a changed man
I'll have long put aside those things that hid me from you

Thanks in advance to anyone who can point me in the direction of the book containing this poem.
Joe
Nov 01, 2008 rated it liked it
I recommend that you immerse yourself in the music of Rachels, a chamber orchestra who used this book of poetry for their own concept album, The Sea and the Bells, after Naruda's book. My Favorite poem from the book is "Pedro is the how and the when..." some of the titles of the poems are simply the first lines as they remained untiled as he died. Published posthumously.
Deb
Mar 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I have had the pleasure of visiting Neruda's house, now a museum, at Isla Negra in Chile. The house looks out toward the sea with a replica of a sailboat and a large ship's bell standing between his window and his view of the rocky shore and the sea. This book captures his love of the sea perfectly.
Arlo
Nov 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: poems
One of eight books of poetry he was writing the last year of his life. The Sea and The Bells deals a lot with isolation and using nature(the sea) and the bells to reflect the isolation and being part of nature. Most are untitled and he uses a more minimalist style than his other Poems I have read. Which tend to use extremely lavish language.
Shaindel
Jul 25, 2008 marked it as to-read
I interviewed William O'Daly, the translator, on The Moe Green Poetry Hour, and will be interviewing him as a guest on my own show, Translated By.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/onword/2...


...more
George.kemi
Aug 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best collections of poetry I have read. My introduction to Neruda, which I liked a lot more than the Captain's Songs. A LOT more. More reflective and interested in questions about self, nature, country and so on - broader themes, more bittersweet than the Captain's Verses.
Heather
Jan 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I wish I could begin each day by reading this book. One of the shorter poems:

HERE

I came here to count the bells
that live upon the surface of the sea,
that sound over the sea,
within the sea.

So, here I live.


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Pablo Neruda was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean writer and politician Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. Neruda assumed his pen name as a teenager, partly because it was in vogue, partly to hide his poetry from his father, a rigid man who wanted his son to have a "practical" occupation. Neruda's pen name was derived from Czech writer and poet Jan Neruda; Pablo is thought to be fro ...more

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“The whole human earth was bleeding.
Time, buildings, routes, rain,
erase the constellation of the crime,
the fact is, this small planet
has been covered a thousand times by blood,
war or vengeance, ambush or battle,
people fell, they were devoured,
and later oblivion wiped clean
each square meter: sometimes
a vague, dishonest monument,
other times a clause in bronze,
and still later, conversations, births,
townships, and then oblivion.
What arts we have for extermination
and what science to obliterate memory!
What was bloody is covered with flowers.
Once more, young men, ready yourselves
for another chance to kill, to die again,
and to scatter flowers over the blood.”
8 likes
“Forgive me if my eyes see
no more clearly than sea foam,
please forgive that my form
grows outward without license
and never stops:
monotonous is my song,
my word is a shadow bird,
fauna of stone and sea, the grief
of a winter planet, Incorruptible.
Forgive me this sequence of water,
of rock, of foam, of the tide’s
delirium: this is my loneliness:
salt in sudden leaps against the walls
of my secret being, in such a way
that I am a part
of winter,
of the same flat expanse that repeats
from bell to bell, in wave after wave,
and from a silence like a woman’s hair,
a silence of seaweed, a sunken song.”
1 likes
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