on the particular and the universal

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Ode To The Lemon

by Pablo Neruda


From blossoms released by the moonlight,

from an aroma of exasperated love,

steeped in fragrance,

yellowness drifted from the lemon tree,

and from its planetarium lemons descended to the earth.


Tender yield!

The coasts, the markets glowed with light,

with unrefined gold;

we opened two halves of a miracle,

congealed acid trickled from the hemispheres of a star,

the most intense liqueur of nature,

unique, vivid, concentrated,

born of the cool, fresh lemon,

of its fragrant house,

its acid, secret symmetry.


Knives sliced a small cathedral in the lemon,

the concealed apse, opened,

revealed acid stained glass,

drops oozed topaz,

altars, cool architecture.


So, when you hold the hemisphere

of a cut lemon above your plate,

you spill a universe of gold,

a yellow goblet of miracles,

a fragrant nipple of the earth’s breast,

a ray of light that was made fruit,

the minute fire of a planet.

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