“Ode to the Tomato” is a poem written by Pablo Neruda. The original Spanish title is “Oda al Tomate”. Let’s take a look at a summary and analysis of the poem and then read a translation written by Gary R. Hess.
Pablo Neruda’s “Ode to the Tomato” is a traditional ode. Meaning, it is a poem written directly to praise an individual or, as in this case, a thing.
The writing reflects on tomatoes being everywhere during summer and then describes its usage. It goes into detail about the juice of the tomato, the slicing of its flesh and the dishes it is served with.
Theme: The greatness of tomatoes
- Benign majesty (majestad benigna) – friendly controller (referring to the reader)
- Kill it (se hunde) – slice it
- Viscera (viscera) – the insides of the tomato
- Magnetism (magnetism) – attraction
- Wed / Weddings (bodas) – combination
- Pennants (banderines) – a flag for special occasions. In this case, parsley is put on the tomatoes for special occasions
- Canals (canales) – the dips in the side of the tomato
- Star of Earth (astro de tierra) – something is seen as great on Earth
- Star / repeated / and fertile (estrella / repetida / y fecunda) – something we use constantly and yet it is still not tiring
Ode to the Tomato by Pablo Neruda
is full of tomatoes,
through the streets
is its juice.
on the sideboard,
among the glasses,
the butter dishes,
the salt shaker.
It has its
We must, unfortunately,
in its living pulp,
it is a red
it’s wed happily
with the clear onion,
and to celebrate
over their half-open hemispheres,
is its fragrance,
salt its magnetism:
they are the weddings
on the day
with its aroma
at the door,
the table, in the middle
star of Earth,
it shows us
the distinguished fullness
without scales or thorns,
of its fiery color
and the totality of its freshness.