'Ode To The Artichoke' by Pablo Neruda

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The artichokeWith a tender heartDressed up like a warrior,Standing at attention, it builtA small helmetUnder its scalesIt remainedUnshakeable,By its sideThe crazy vegetablesUncurledTheir tendrills and leaf-crowns,Throbbing bulbs,In the sub-soilThe carrotWith its red mustachesWas sleeping,The grapevineHung out to dry its branchesThrough which the wine will rise,The cabbageDedicated itselfTo trying on skirts,The oreganoTo perfuming the world,And the sweetArtichokeThere in the garden,Dressed like a warrior,BurnishedLike a proudPomegrante.And one daySide by sideIn big wicker basketsWalking through the marketTo realize their dreamThe artichoke armyIn formation.Never was it so militaryLike on parade.The menIn their white shirtsAmong the vegetablesWereThe MarshalsOf the artichokesLines in close orderCommand voices,And the bangOf a falling box.ButThenMariaComesWith her basketShe choosesAn artichoke,She's not afraid of it.She examines it, she observes itUp against the light like it was an egg,She buys it,She mixes it upIn her handbagWith a pair of shoesWith a cabbage head and aBottleOf vinegarUntilShe enters the kitchenAnd submerges it in a pot.Thus endsIn peaceThis careerOf the armed vegetableWhich is called an artichoke,ThenScale by scale,We strip offThe delicacyAnd eatThe peaceful mushOf its green heart.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Ode To The Artichoke - Pablo Neruda

As soon as I read the title of this poem, I was immediately intrigued. Who writes an ode to an artichoke? And why? But as I delved deeper into the poem, I realized that Pablo Neruda had done something truly remarkable - he had taken a seemingly mundane vegetable and turned it into a thing of beauty and wonder.

The poem starts off with the speaker describing the artichoke as "a warrior in armor" - a powerful and majestic image. He goes on to describe how the leaves of the artichoke "shield the heart" - a metaphor for how the armor protects the warrior's most vital organ. This sets the tone for the entire poem - the artichoke is not just a vegetable, but a symbol of strength and resilience.

As the poem progresses, the speaker uses vivid imagery to describe the artichoke. He talks about how it looks like a "little sun" and how its leaves are like "green fish scales." He even goes so far as to describe the artichoke as a "star on earth" - a celestial object that has been brought down to our level. The sheer magnitude of these descriptions is awe-inspiring - Neruda has taken something as simple as an artichoke and turned it into a work of art.

But there is more to this poem than just beautiful language. Neruda uses the artichoke as a metaphor for the human experience. He talks about how the artichoke has "a tender heart" - just like humans, who have emotions and vulnerabilities that they try to protect. He even compares the artichoke to a "globe of earth" - a symbol of how we are all connected, no matter how different or distant we may seem.

There are also moments of humor in this poem - the speaker talks about how the artichoke "has a beard" and how it can be "a little proud." These moments of levity serve to break up the seriousness of the poem and make it more accessible to readers.

Throughout the poem, Neruda uses repetition to emphasize the importance of the artichoke. He repeats the phrase "I like" multiple times, each time adding a new facet to his love for the vegetable. This repetition serves to drive home the point that the artichoke is not just a passing fancy for the speaker - it is something that he truly cherishes.

One of the most striking aspects of "Ode To The Artichoke" is how Neruda takes something that most people would overlook or dismiss and turns it into a thing of beauty. He shows us that there is wonder and magic in the everyday world around us, if only we take the time to look for it. This poem is a testament to the power of language and the importance of finding beauty in the world.

In conclusion, "Ode To The Artichoke" is a masterful work of poetry that takes a simple vegetable and transforms it into a symbol of strength, resilience, and beauty. Neruda's use of vivid imagery, metaphor, repetition, and humor all contribute to making this poem a true masterpiece. It is a reminder that there is beauty in the world around us, even in the most unexpected places.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Ode to the Artichoke: A Celebration of the Mundane

Pablo Neruda, the Chilean poet, is known for his ability to find beauty in the mundane. In his poem "Ode to the Artichoke," Neruda celebrates the artichoke, a vegetable that is often overlooked and underappreciated. Through his vivid imagery and lyrical language, Neruda elevates the artichoke to a symbol of beauty and complexity.

The poem begins with a description of the artichoke's appearance. Neruda describes the artichoke as having "a warrior's helmet" and "a green heart." These descriptions immediately create a sense of strength and vitality. The artichoke is not just a vegetable, but a warrior, ready to defend itself against any threat.

Neruda then goes on to describe the artichoke's leaves, which he compares to "scales" and "armour." This imagery reinforces the idea of the artichoke as a warrior, and also suggests that the artichoke is not just a passive vegetable, but a plant that is actively protecting itself.

As the poem continues, Neruda's language becomes more lyrical and poetic. He describes the artichoke as having "a secret and sound heart" and "a depth filled with extent." These descriptions suggest that the artichoke is not just a simple vegetable, but a complex and mysterious entity. The artichoke has a "secret" heart, which suggests that there is more to this vegetable than meets the eye.

Neruda also uses the artichoke as a metaphor for the human heart. He writes, "I like the artichoke / for its heart / that is not an artichoke's heart / but a human heart." This comparison suggests that the artichoke is not just a vegetable, but a symbol of human emotion and complexity.

Throughout the poem, Neruda's language is rich with sensory detail. He describes the artichoke's "velvet petal" and "thick scales," and writes that the artichoke "keeps itself well / with its own few drops / of bitter dew." These descriptions create a vivid picture of the artichoke, and also suggest that the artichoke is a plant that is self-sufficient and self-contained.

Neruda's use of language is also playful and whimsical. He writes, "I have a crazy love of the artichoke, / of its greenery." This language suggests that Neruda's love for the artichoke is not just rational, but emotional and irrational.

The poem ends with a celebration of the artichoke's complexity and beauty. Neruda writes, "I like it / for the star / that shines in its belly." This final image suggests that the artichoke is not just a vegetable, but a celestial object, a star that shines in the darkness.

In conclusion, "Ode to the Artichoke" is a celebration of the mundane. Through his vivid imagery and lyrical language, Neruda elevates the artichoke to a symbol of beauty and complexity. The artichoke is not just a vegetable, but a warrior, a symbol of human emotion and complexity, and a celestial object. Neruda's poem reminds us that even the most ordinary things can be sources of wonder and beauty.

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