This Ocean is Yours

Ode to Things
by Pablo Neruda, from Odes to Common Things

I have a crazy,
crazy love of things.
I like pliers,
and scissors.
I love
cups,
rings,
and bowls--
not to speak, of course,
of hats.
I love
all things,
not just
the grandest,
also
the
infinite-
ly
small--
thimbles,
spurs,
plates,
and flower vases.

Oh yes,
the planet
is sublime!
It's full of
pipes
weaving
hand-held
through tobacco smoke,
and keys
and salt shakers--
everything,
I mean,
that is made
by the hand of man, every little thing:
shapely shoes,
and fabric,
and each new
bloodless birth
of gold,
eyeglasses,
carpenter's nails,
brushes,
clocks, compasses,
coins, and the so-soft
softness of chairs.

Mankind has
built
oh so many
perfect
things!
Built them of wool
and of wood,
of glass and
of rope:
remarkable
tables,
ships, and stairways.

I love
all
things,
not because they are
passionate
or sweet-smelling
but because,
I don't know,
because
this ocean is yours,
and mine:
these buttons
and wheels
and little
forgotten
treasures,
fans upon
whose feathers
love has scattered
its blossoms,
glasses, knives and
scissors--
all bear
the trace
of someone's fingers
on their handle or surface,
the trace of a distant hand
lost
in the depths of forgetfulness.

I pause in houses,
streets and
elevators,
touching things,
identifying objects
that I secretly covet:
this one because it rings,
that one because
it's as soft
as the softness of a woman's hip,
that one there for its deep-sea color,
and that one for its velvet feel.

O irrevocable
river
of things:
no one can say
that I loved
only
fish,
or the plants of the jungle and the field,
that I loved
only
those things that leap and climb, desire, and survive.
It's not true:
many things conspired
to tell me the whole story.
Not only did they touch me,
or my hand touched them:
they were
so close
that they were a part
of my being,
they were so alive with me
that they lived half my life
and will die half my death.