Yin and Yang, Bedfellows


A student asked me today, “Is this whole poem really about a watermelon?”
“Yes,” I replied, with nod and a smile at the note of sarcasm, exasperation.
The group of boys exchanged knowing glances and smirks that seem to say, Wow, this guy needs a life.

But Neruda is from Chile, where the scorching heat of summer places the sumptuous bliss of cold watermelon into an entirely different context. It might seem strange to write a two-page Ode to the Toilet too, but I could wax poetic (at length) about the gleaming perfection said porcelain goddess after holding my bladder for three hours in traffic on the heels of a vente Starbucks. Deprivation breeds delight. A counterpoint: excess breeds apathy.

And therein (a microcosm) lies a glimpse into the incremental collapse of the Roman Empire.

8 thoughts on “Yin and Yang, Bedfellows

  1. Three hours in traffic “holding it” must be a world record. Unfortunately, Guinness probably requires some witnesses, not the sort of thing one is likely to have under the circumstances!


    • Watermelons, schmatermelons, I guess. I’m going to make them write their own ode in the end, so hopefully they’ll find a little appreciation for something. (I don’t doubt it…just hoping I don’t have to read 24 versions of Ode to My Phone…)


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