Our poet contemplates age today. One thing I love about Neruda is how bald he can be, but the work (for me!) carries that baldness off. “I don’t believe in age,” Neruda declaims in the first line of “Ode to Age,” and as someone who is aging happily (and well, I hope!), I’m inclined to agree. “I proclaim you / path / and not shroud,” he writes, and I love that image (while agreeing that it is not stunningly original).
My favorite thing about “Ode to Age,” though, is that Neruda made the mistake (I would argue) that all poets make, letting his poem linger on a line or two too long. It’s so comforting to see someone else in this leaky poetic boat. I’ll let you look up the last couple of lines yourself to see if you agree with me—but here’s where I’d have ended:
time, I roll you up,
I deposit you in my
and I leave off to fish.