Ode to olive oil

barbara ender

This is for Iron Photographer 309, but I am tying it in with my illustrations of Pablo Neruda's odes. What he doesn't say in his poem is that olive oil can also go into soap (some blocks of Aleppo soap here with olive oil, essence of laurel, and the lighter one with goat's milk.) And my tiny olive tree.

I do not have a credit for the translation of the poem; it had quite a few spelling mistakes which I corrected, but I can't guarantee the accuracy. Not sure about the mackerels like archibishops...

Ode to Olive Oil
Near the murmuring
in the grain fields, of the waves,
of wind in the oat-stalks,
the olive tree
with its silver-covered mass,
severe in its lines
in its twisted
heart in the earth:
the graceful
by the hands
that made
the dove
and the oceanic
of nature.
And there
the dry
olive groves,
the blue sky with cicadas
and the hard earth
the prodigy
the perfect
of the olives,
With their constellations, the foliage.
Then later,
the bowls,
the miracle,
the olive oil.
I love
The homelands of olive oil
the olive groves
of Chacabuco, in Chile.
In the morning
feathers of platinum,
forests of them
against the wrinkled
mountain ranges.
In Anacapri, up above,
over the light of the Italian sea,
is the despair of olive trees.
And on the map of Europe,
A black basketful of olives
dusted off by orange blossoms
as if by a sea breeze.
Olive oil,
the internal supreme
condition for the cooking pot,
pedestal for game birds
Heavenly key to mayonnaise.
Smooth and tasty
over the lettuce,
and supernatural in the hell
of the king mackerels like archbishops
our chorus
powerful smoothness.
You sing:
you are the Castilian
There are syllables of olive oil.
There are words,
useful and rich-smelling
like your fragrant material.
It’s not only wine that sings;
olive oil sings too.
It lives in us with its ripe light.
And among the good things of the earth
I set apart
olive oil,
your ever-flowing peace, your green essence,
your heaped-up treasure which descends
In streams from the olive tree.

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