Brook Miscoski's Reviews > Canto General

Canto General by Pablo Neruda
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M 50x66
's review
Aug 03, 2007

really liked it
Recommended for: communists

Okay, so maybe not communists, even though Neruda definitely "looked to the left." This poetry collection is a "history" tracing the development of life itself and then up through events in America (ALL of America in many respects) up through Neruda's time.

For example, he eulogizes many pan-American heros, and a section of the work is called "Let the Woodcutter Awaken," which gets really powerful in this section:

Let none of this (referring to conflict and bloodshed) come to pass.
Let the Woodcutter Awaken.
Let Abraham come with his ax
and his wood plate
to eat with the peasants.
Let his head of bark,
his eyes seen in the boards,
in the oak's wrinkles,
return to behold the world
rising above the treetops,
higher than the sequoias.
Let him go shopping in the drugstores,
let him take a bus to Tampa,
let him bite into a yellow apple,
let him go to the movies, let him talk
with all the common people.

Let the Woodcutter awaken.

Let Abraham come, let his old
yeast swell Illinois's
gold and green earth,
and let him heft his people's ax
against the new slavers,
against the slave's whip,
against the poison press,
against the bloody merchandise
that they want to sell.
Let the white youth, the black youth,
march singing and smiling
against the walls of gold,
against the manufacture of hatred,
against the merchant of their blood,
singing, smiling, and conquering.

Let the Woodcutter awaken.

Which to me only somewhat makes up for the fact that Neruda was a deluded Stalinite, which is obvious enough in some of the Canto (thus detracting a star) to make you want to puke, oh, 20 million times or so.

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