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Pablo Neruda: [after reading the poem "Ode to the Sea"] What do you think?
Mario Ruoppolo: It's weird.
Pablo Neruda: What do you mean, weird? You're a severe critic.
Mario Ruoppolo: No, not your poem. Weird... Weird... how I felt while you were saying it.
Pablo Neruda: How was that?
Mario Ruoppolo: I don't know. The words went back and forth.
Pablo Neruda: Like the sea then?
Mario Ruoppolo: Exactly. Like the sea.
Pablo Neruda: There, that's the rhythm.
Mario Ruoppolo: I felt seasick, in fact.
Pablo Neruda: Because...
Mario Ruoppolo: I can't explain it. I felt like...like a boat tossing around on those words.
Pablo Neruda: Like a boat tossing around on my words? Do you know what you've done, Mario?
Mario Ruoppolo: No, what?
Pablo Neruda: You've invented a metaphor. Yes, you have!
Mario Ruoppolo: Really? But it doesn't count because I didn't mean to.
Pablo Neruda: Meaning to is not important. Images arise spontaneously.
Surrounding the island
But what sea?
It's always overflowing.
Then no again,
In sea spray
And no again.
It can't be still.
My name is sea.
It slaps the rocks
And when they aren't convinced,
And soaks them
And smothers them with kisses.
With seven green tongues
Of seven green dogs
Or seven green tigers
Or seven green seas,
Beating its chest,
Stammering its name,
This is your name.
Oh comrade ocean,
Don't waste time
Getting so upset
Help us instead.
We are meager fishermen,
Men from the shore
Who are hungry and cold
And you're our foe.
Don't beat so hard,
Don't shout so loud,
Open your green coffers,
Place gifts of silver in our hands.
Give us this day
our daily fish.
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