The Chilean Pablo Neruda was a Nobel laureate who constantly questioned his own reality and ours. One of his last works was The Book of Questions . He died in 1972, and Copper Canyon Press published his "unanswerable" questions in 1991, translated by William O'Daly. From the lyric, paradoxical, enigmatic, tragicomic, surreal, or poignant questions Neruda asked, here are a few favorites:

Why don't they train helicopters
to suck honey from the sunlight?
How many churches are there in heaven?
Tell me, is the rose naked
or is that her only dress?
Is there anything in the world sadder
than a train standing in the rain?
What forced labor
does Hitler do in hell?
How many questions does a cat have?
Do tears not yet spilled
wait in small lakes?
Where does the rainbow end,
in your soul or on the horizon?
Who was she who made love to you
in your dream,while you slept?
And does the father who lives in your dreams
die again when you awaken?
Where is the child I was,
still inside me or gone?
Isn't the city the great ocean
of quaking mattresses?
How did the grapes come to know
the cluster's party line?
How did the abandoned bicycle
win its freedom?
If all rivers are sweet
where does the sea get its salt?
Does smoke talk with clouds?

No comments: