Between December and January

Pablo Neruda Railway Museum, Temuco, Chile
Pablo Neruda Railway Museum, Temuco, Chile (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I went to the Sanibel Bookshop today.

It’s a typical indie bookshop in an up-scale beach town: displays of hard-bound best-sellers, lots of local authors, a deftly-curated kid section and gifty things –coasters, stationary, candles and the like. The two staff are the kind of competent and earnest types served up by a Junior League.

“Yes, it is my first time… Uhhh no, really, I’m fine… Just lookin’… Yeah, I sure will, Thanks.”

Left on my own, I sidle up the aisles and check out the wares. I want to buy Mary Oliver’s new book of poetry, Dog Songs, for my sister who has gotten a new dog. But it’s not there. But there is book by the poet/author Pablo Neruda called The Book of Questions. 

To the staff’s credit, they simply ring it up, they don’t go on and on about much of anything.  I like that a lot.

Pablo Neruda died in 1973; this book is 320 questions that compose 74 sequences.  (Translated by William O’Daly) And I tell you, it’s JUST WHAT  you need to simmer down during a hectic holiday season.

Here are 3 of the his 320 questions. Sit and wonder.

pablo nerudaIf I have died and don’t know it
of whom do I ask the time?

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

And what is the name of the month
that falls between December and January?

(Sketch – Andre Alvez)

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