Common things and awareness | Madhu Bazaz Wangu
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Common things and awareness

Common things and awareness

Depending upon the degree of our awareness common things can be beautiful.

What sizzles
in boiling
oil
is the world’s
pleasure:
French
fries
go
into the pan
like the morning swan’s
snowy
feathers
and emerge
half-golden from the olive’s
crackling amber.

Garlic
lends them
its earthy aroma,
its spice,
its pollen that braved the reefs.
Then,
dressed anew
in ivory suits, they fill our plates
with repeated abundance,
and the delicious simplicity of the soil.

(“Ode to French Fries” in Odes to Common Things, a collection of poems by Pablo Neruda selected and illustrated by Ferris Cook. Translated by Ken Krabbenhoft. Bulfinch Press, AOL Time Warner Book Group. 2002)

Nature inspires in us wise thoughts when observed with awareness:

“How far are you from me, O Fruit?”
“I am hidden in your heart, O Flower.” (82)

It is the little things that I leave behind for my loved ones, — great things are for everyone. (178)

They light their own lamps and sing their own words in their temples.
But the birds sing thy name in thine own morning light, –for thy name is joy. (285)

We shall know some day that death can never rob us of that which our soul has gained, for her gains are one with herself. (313)

(Stray Birds by Rabindranath Tagore. Translated from Bengali to English by the author, The Macmillan Company, 1916)

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