(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973 / Parral)

Tell Me, Is The Rose Naked?

Tell me, is the rose naked
Or is that her only dress?

Why do trees conceal
The splendor of their roots?

Who hears the regrets
Of the thieving automobile?

Is there anything in the world sadder
Than a train standing in the rain?

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Comments (6)

is the rose naked Or is that her only dress? .................. Is there anything in the world sadder Than a train standing in the rain? Thought provoking lines, superb poem.
A train standing in the rain is indeed a sad sight but so are the trees.
moving last line, I like to think of that
Superb....Thought provoking poem....Nicely written.
The last poems of the Chilean Pablo Neruda are a cycle of 74 cantos called ''El Libro de las Preguntas'', 'The Book of Questions'. In fact, the poems consist entirely of questions, which act as much to celebrate as to query the world around us. They reveal the poet in his many moods — humourous, nostalgic, political, sentimental, metaphysical, absurd, realistic, passionate, wistful — and in just a few words reduced to the fundamentals. Neruda wrote these poems on the eve of the violent overthrow of the elected government of Chile in 1973. He was a close friend of President Salvador Allende, which is why some lines unsettle the general sense of an enquiring mind at peace with the world: Pero es verdad que se prepara la insurrección de los chalecos? O'Daly has this as 'But is it true that the vests are preparing to revolt? ' Los chalecos means vests in Spanish, but anyone reading this poem at the time would know its military and political connotations. Vests were worn by soldiers, including top brass with lots of medals attached. When Pinochet took control of Chile in a coup d'état, it was a vindication of the fear spoken, by implication, in some of the lines of The Book of Questions. Many suspected foul play when Neruda died 12 days later. In 2011 his former driver claimed Neruda had been poisoned by secret agents, contradicting the official version, death from cancer. Due to legal action from the Communist Party, the Chilean government last month exhumed the body. This act is contentious itself; the Pablo Neruda Foundation disapproves, while the family want closure, one way or the other. Preliminary results confirm that Neruda did have an advanced case of prostate cancer, but tests continue, both in Chile and the United States. [Philip Harvey]
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