There is a fat worm in these waters
in these lands a predatory worm:
he ate the island's flag
hoisting up his overseer's banner,
he was nourished from the captive blood
of the poor buried patriots.
- "Munoz Marin" by Pablo Neruda
Book Club pulled poetry this month. And I picked a book so far over my head that I pretty much drowned in it.
Poetry and I have had a tumultuous relationship at best. And most of that was because I was forced to memorize Keats and Shelley in Jr. High, followed by an overly generous helping of Atwood in High School.
But having to pick a book, I decided I'd like to read something by Pablo Neruda. I took interest in Neruda after reading The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan. So this seemed like a good chance to actually read some of his poetry...
Which is how I ended up with Song of Protest.
There are so many things wrong here, and sadly, they are all things that are wrong with me. I can't even begin to actually review this collection of political poems. Firstly, I feel like this is really a set of poetry which would have been EXTREMELY powerful in the time period and place when it was written, which was more than 20 years before I was born. Or, it would have a great deal of meaning if I was really familiar with South American history. Which I also am not. And lastly, it was just hard for me to wrap my head around some of the subject matter in the poems, particularly Neruda's overt bromance with Fidel Castro...
So this was just one of those things that I didn't get. Totally my bad.
But we can't all be experts in everything, so I guess I'll let myself get away with not having a handle on poetry. After all, I'll always know a lot about parallel parking and 1980's Japanese pop music....