Hello everyone! We have guest blogger for today’s Poetics, Rosemarie Gonzales from A Reading Writer.
“you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat…”
― Saint-Exupery Antoine, The Little Prince
Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. How long will this chaos be? Hey there, fellow poets! I just realised I have been living alone in my cream-box-of-a-home for more than four months now. While it would have been amazing to walk inside some mossy forests or amidst golden or green fields, I am stuck at the heart of an Asian city. Alone, trying not to be lonely, thanks for the help of books keeping me company.
This time allowed me to read more poems from the lingering voices of the past and the emerging stanzas of the present. One of which that I grew very fond of is Pablo Neruda and his genius and rich use of the word “wheat”.
I am from a tropical country and wheat is all but scarce (we do have lots of rice, though). Through Neruda’s poems, I have come to understand how a humble word can wear a new colour in the hands of a creative mind like him.
Here’s one which was used as a comparative symbol:
Naked, you are simple as one of your hands,
Smooth, earthy, small, transparent, round:
You have moonlines, applepathways:
Naked, you are slender as a naked grain of wheat.
Naked, you are blue as the night in Cuba;
You have vines and stars in your hair;
Naked, you are spacious and yellow
As summer in a golden church.
Naked, you are tiny as one of your nails,
Curved, subtle, rosy, till the day is born
And you withdraw to the underground world,
as if down a long tunnel of clothing and of chores:
Your clear light dims, gets dressed, drops its leaves,
And becomes a naked hand again.
…another was personified:
Ah vastness of pines, murmur of waves breaking,
slow play of lights, solitary bell,
twilight falling in your eyes, toy doll,
earth-shell, in whom the earth sings!
In you the rivers sing and my soul flees in them
as you desire, and you send it where you will.
Aim my road on your bow of hope
and in a frenzy I will flee my flock of arrows.
On all sides I see your waist of fog,
and your silence hunts down my afflicted hours;
my kisses anchor, and my moist desire nests
in your arms of transparent stone.
Ah your mysterious voice that love tolls and darkens
in the resonant and dying evening!
Thus in the deep hours I have seen, over the fields,
the ears of wheat tolling in the mouth of the wind.
…and of course Neruda will not be complete without his signature romance:
When I die I want your hands on my eyes:
I want the light and the wheat of your beloved hands
to pass their freshness over me one more time
to feel the smoothness that changed my destiny.
I want you to live while I wait for you, asleep,
I want for your ears to go on hearing the wind,
for you to smell the sea that we loved together
and for you to go on walking the sand where we walked.
I want for what I love to go on living
and as for you I loved you and sang you above everything,
for that, go on flowering, flowery one,
so that you reach all that my love orders for you,
so that my shadow passes through your hair,
so that they know by this the reason for my song.
Still waiting for the muse to whip some wheat on your pen? Wheat also holds significant meanings. For instance, wheat is a symbol of love and charity in the Bible, while in Greek mythology, it signifies abundance, life, and fertility and it is also the emblem of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture.
In terms of etymology:
Old English hwæte “wheat,” from Proto-Germanic *hwaitjaz (source also of Old Saxon hweti, Old Norse hveiti, Norwegian kveite, Old Frisian hwete, Middle Dutch, Dutch weit, Old High German weizzi, German Weizen, Gothic hvaiteis “wheat”), literally “that which is white”.
So today, I, Rosemarie (Rose or Rosey) of A Reading Writer, invite you to write on wheat with me. (Sorry, I cannot get enough of alliteration!). Feel free to use wheat, wheatish (of the pale golden colour of ripe wheat), wheat-harvest or wheat-ever twist you want to create! You can also borrow some lines from Neruda and paint it with your own colour.
To sum it up, here’s how to join today prompt:
- Write a poem about or with “wheat” and its possible variations.
- There you will find links to other poets, and more will join during the next few days so check back to read other entries.
- Read and comment on other poet’s work, we all go here to have our poems read.
- Please link back to dVerse from your site/blog.
- Comment and participate in our discussion below, if you like.
- Have fun.
About the author
R. C. Gonzales is the writer behind the blog A Reading Writer and the author of two poetry collections. She is a proud Filipina writing at work and during her free time, too. You can read more of her poems on WordPress, Instagram, and Facebook.