Thursday, May 27, 2010

Poem Of The Week - Pablo Neruda

I discovered Pablo Neruda through the movie Patch Adams starring Robin Williams. I loved the movie and loved the poem. Since then I've become a fan of all Pablo Neruda's work but this one is still my favourite. I've been dabbling with learning Spanish so I can read Pablo Neruda's work in it's original tongue as well as the works of César Vallejo and Federico García Lorca- I seem to have a soft spot for Spanish language poetry.  Alas my Spanish is a long long way from being able to appreciate poetry.

XVII (I do not love you...)

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

-Pablo Neruda

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Age Of Risotto

I've been a vegetarian for almost 20 years now and I've noticed that restaurants go through phases with the "vegetarian option" which they offer.  When I first became vegetarian back in the early 90's the option was vegetarian lasagne.  I've never had a bad vegetarian lasagne but during the age of vegetarian lasagne I had some pretty ordinary ones. 

The next age was a dark one.  The spinach and ricotta cannelloni age. If you've never had spinach and ricotta cannelloni I can thoroughly recommend trying something else.  If you ever went to a restaurant with  me during this age you would have noticed a strange desperation as I studied the menu: looking and praying for anything else that was vegetarian.  I spent this age wishing I'd never complained about the age of lasagne. 

I notice we've now entered the age of risotto.  I used to enjoy an occasional risotto when I found one on the menu during the age of cannelloni.  I still enjoy a good one.  They vary wildly from the divine to what is at best stodgy rice.  Even the stodgy rice form is better than a cannelloni. 

I can understand restaurants only having one or two vegetarian options on their menu.  I don't have any complaints about that, choice is good but being able to eat is better so I appreciate that the option is there.  I do wonder why it is though that the vegetarian option is common across so many different eateries, even places with completely different non-vegetarian menu's will offer the same vegetarian dish.  If there is any-one in the hospitalities that can shed some light then I'd love to hear from you. 

Also worth noting: the above only relates to places serving "western" cuisine.  If you want good vegetarian and variety your best bet is to go Asian; my personal favourite cuisine remains Indian.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I Dreamt with the Brass Buddha

Bill Barton 7/12/1921 - 10/4/2010

I Dreamt with the Brass Buddha

Smooth cold skin,
tarnished and collecting dust.
He is a twin.
His brother
was a courting gift
from my mother
to my father.

I ask the Buddha
if my father has rejected Buddhism
or embraced it so deeply
it is beyond me to recognise.
He smiles
and a drop of sweat
beads on the folds of his chest
and rushes furiously
across the sacred mound of his belly.

He invokes my childhood
walking across a paddock
with my father explaining
the essence of Buddhism;
To fully be
whatever you were doing-
walk paddock, repair car.

I dreamt with the Brass Buddha
and recognised my father,
eighty one years old
playing guitar.
Calloused hands
gripping the fret,
stroking strings.
His whole body listening,
just as he once did, walking with me.

The Brass Buddha
wipes the sweat from his brow
and returns to his contemplation.