Zentangle inspired by Pablo Neruda and the Sea
My kids are on spring break this week, so we took a few days to drive north to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and San Francisco. The aquarium is one of my favorite places to visit but I hadn’t been there in over 10 years. It is now bigger and more beautiful than ever. The incredible array of sea life creates a moving rainbow that passes in and out of sight. I could have stood in front of the kelp forest for hours but Maggie quickly dragged me off to the touch tanks where I got to touch a beautiful bat ray. So many amazing patterns, sounds, shapes, colors to admire. My creative soul was buzzing, I couldn’t wait for some quiet time to create a Zentangle!
One of the many wonderful new additions to the aquarium (or at least not one I remembered from my last visit) was the incorporation of quotes and snippets of poems from famous authors placed throughout the buildings. Each one it’s own stunning reflection of the ocean and it’s inhabitants. Being a wordaholic, I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of these quotes as much as I enjoyed watching the otters play and the jellies float.
I wrote my dissertation on Pablo Neruda and two other Chilean poets many years ago. Neruda is still one of my all-time favorite poets and so I was delighted to see this quote. I snapped a picture of it but even without the visual recording, the words stayed in my head all day long.
When we got to my friend Sharon’s house in Sunnyvale on Saturday night, I found myself beginning a Zentangle-inspired piece to illustrate his poem. I finished it once we returned home and decided to post it on my blog. So of course I had to research which poem the two lines were from. Here is Neruda’s poem Sea in it’s entirety.
Sea by Pablo Neruda
I need an ocean to teach me:
whatever it is that I learn – music or consciousness,
the single wave in the sea, the abyss of my being,
the guttural rasp of my voice, or the blazing
presumption of fishes and navies –
so much is certain: even in sleep, as if
by the trick of a magnet, I spin on the circle
of wave upon wave of the sea, the sea’s university.
More than the mash of the sea-conch, as though
worn by a planet’s vibrations
that dies by degrees,
I salvage the day with a fragment,
restore the stalactite with a volley of salt
and spoon up a godhead’s immensity.
And all that I learn is remembered. It is air,
it is sand, it is water, the interminable wind.
The young think it little,
coming to live here with their fires;
yet out of those recesses where a pulse once
ascended or sank to its void,
the crackle and freeze of the blue,
a star’s granulation,
the tender deployment of waves
that squander their snow on the foam,
the reticent power, undeflectable,
a stone throne on the deep,
my wayward despondency, heaping oblivion higher,
turned, until suddenly all my existence was changed:
and I cling with the whole of my being to what is purest
Wow, I loved the two lines on their own but once I read the entirety of the poem I fell in love with Neruda all over again. I won’t bore you with a longer analysis of the deeper meaning of this poem; suffice it to say that I too learn from the sea, dance on the waves, spin on the shore and delight in what she has to teach me.