NERUDA, Pablo. At Procitne Drevorubec. Praha: Mlada Fronta, 1950.
4to., card covers printed in black and red with cover design and numerous woodcuts in text by Alberto Bertran and Leopold Mendez; red lettering to spine; with pp. [x], 7-47, [v]; previous ownership name to ffep; most pages unopened, the spine a touch darkened and rubbed, and some light overall toning; a near-fine copy.
Signed by the poet in green ink prior to the title page. Published in collaboration with Jaroslav Kuchvalek, with a foreword by Jan Drda.
Pablo Neruda was the pen-name and later, the legal name of Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto. The name is thought to have been derived from the Czech journalist, writer, poet and art critic Jan Neruda, who was a great inspiration to the young poet. It is documented that Pablo visited Prague in the same year this publication was translated into Czech, and during his time in the city laid flowers on the grave of his idol.
I Wish the Woodcutter Would Wake Up is a free-flowing poem by the Latin American poet, and on the surface is an attempt to reconcile his love of the North American continent and its natural beauty with the development of the modern world. Under the surface, however, it is an impassioned plea for peace, written from a political standpoint. Neruda was keen to distance the people of the United States from their politics and government. "What we love is your peace, not your mask" he writes, "Your warrior's face is not handsome."
West of the Colorado River
there's a place I love.
I take refuge there with everything alive
in me, with everything
that I have been, that I am, that I believe in.
Some high red rocks are there, the wild
air with its thousand hands
has turned them into human buildings.
The blind scarlet rose from the depths
and changed in these rocks to copper, fire, and energy.
America spread out like a buffalo skin,
light and transparent night of galloping,
near your high places covered with stars
I drink down your cup of green dew.