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ode to the lemon

From those lemon flowers

Set free

By the light of the moon

From that

Odor of a love

Frustrated,

Sunken in fragrance,

There came

From the Lemon tree its yellow,

From its planetary system

The lemons came down to the earth.

 

Tender merchandise!

Our shores filled up with it,

The markets

Of light, of gold

From a tree,

And we open up

The two halves

Of a miracle,

Congealed acid

Which ran

From the hemispheres

Of a star

And the most profound liquor

In nature,

Unchanging, alive,

Indestructible,

Born from the freshness

Of the lemon,

From its fragrant house,

From its acid, secret symmetry.

 

Inside the lemon the knives

Cut

A small

Cathedral,

The window hidden behind the altars

Opened to the light its glassy acids,

And in drops

Like topazes they were dripped

Onto the altars

By the architecture of freshness.

 

So when your hand

Squeezes the hemisphere

Of the cut

Lemon onto your plate,

A universe of gold,

You have poured out

One

Yellow cup

Full of miracles

One of the sweet-smelling nipples

Of the breast of the earth,

A ray of light that became a fruit,

The diminutive fire of a planet

 

-- Pablo Neruda

(born July 12, 1904)

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Taken on July 12, 2006