TO WASH A CHILD
by Pablo Neruda
Only the most ancient love on earth
will wash and comb the statue of the children,
straighten the feet and knees.
The water rises, the soap slithers,
and the pure body comes up to breathe
the air of flowers and motherhood.
Oh, the sharp watchfulness,
the sweet deception,
the lukewarm struggle!
Now the hair is a tangled
pelt criscrossed by charcoal,
by sawdust and oil,
soot, wiring, crabs,
until love, in its patience,
sets up buckets and sponges,
combs and towels,
and, out of scrubbing and combing, amber,
primal scrupulousness, jasmines,
has emerged the child, newer still,
running from the mother’s arms
to clamber again on its cyclone,
go looking for mud, oil, urine and ink,
hurt itself, roll about on the stones.
Thurs, newly washed, the child springs into life,
for later, it will have time for nothing more
than keeping clean, but with the life lacking.
“The Child’s Bath,” Mary Cassatt. 1893 from Artic.edu
Posted by ~Trish
4 thoughts on “Happy Mother's Day”
I love the artwork of Mary Cassatt and the poetry of Pablo Neruda – what a perfect combination for Mother’s Day.
A very Happy Mother’s Day to you.
Thanks Anna. I found the poem first, and then happened upon the Mary Cassatt piece. It all came together beautifully 🙂
Hope you are enjoying the day!
Tuning in late, but what a poem! I love Pablo Neruda and Mary Cassatt.
Beautiful choice for Mother’s Day!!
Thank you! It is really cool when a poem and image come together so nicely.