Ode to a Large Tuna in the Market by Pablo Neruda

Created by Mark Ashworth

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24 slides

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Ode to a Large Tuna in the Market by Pablo Neruda

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Here,
among the market vegetables,
this torpedo
from the ocean
depths,

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a missile
that swam,
now
lying in front of me
dead.

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Surrounded
by the earth's green froth
—these lettuces,
bunches of carrots—

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only you
lived through
the sea's truth, survived

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the unknown, the
unfathomable
darkness, the depths
of the sea,

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the great
abyss,
le grand abîme,

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only you:
varnished
black-pitched
witness
to that deepest night.

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Only you:
dark bullet
barreled
from the depths,

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carrying
only
your
one wound,

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but resurgent,
always renewed,
locked into the current,

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fins fletched
like wings
in the torrent,

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in the coursing
of
the
underwater

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dark,
like a grieving arrow,
sea-javelin, a nerveless
oiled harpoon.

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Dead
in front of me,
catafalqued king
of my own ocean;

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once
sappy as a sprung fir
in the green turmoil,

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once seed
to sea-quake,
tidal wave, now
simply
dead remains;

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in the whole market
yours
was the only shape left

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with purpose or direction
in this
jumbled ruin
of nature;

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you are
a solitary man of war
among these frail vegetables,

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your flanks and prow
black
and slippery

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as if you were still
a well-oiled ship of the wind,

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the only
true
machine
of the sea: unflawed,

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undefiled,
navigating now
the waters of death.
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