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Celebrating Salt

17/07/2010

Right now — 3 pm on Saturday 17 July 2010 — a flashmob is taking place at the Southbank Centre in London to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Salt Publishing. The assembled throng is reciting the great Pablo Neruda‘s “Ode to Salt”, reproduced below. And across the salinated literary blogosphere (there’s a phrase I never thought I’d write) the same poem is being posted for the same purpose — a virtual flashmob, initiated by Katy Evans-Bush.

It is, of course, a somewhat bittersweet anniversary, given the financial crisis Salt faces at the moment. Please buy just one more book to help keep the press afloat.  There are sooooo many I could recommend, but here are a couple you really should consider that I haven’t mentioned elsewhere this week:

Okay, that was more than a couple but it’s hard to pick, okay?

Anyway, a huge happy birthday to Salt! Without it, life would lose so much flavour.

Let’s get on with this virtual flashmobbing. Over to you, Pablo …

Ode to Salt

This salt
in the salt cellar
I once saw in the salt mines.
I know
you won’t
believe me
but
it sings
salt sings, the skin
of the salt mines
sings
with a mouth smothered
by the earth.
I shivered in those
solitudes
when I heard
the voice
of
the salt
in the desert.
Near Antofagasta
the nitrous
pampa
resounds:
a
broken
voice,
a mournful
song.

In its caves
the salt moans, mountain
of buried light,
translucent cathedral,
crystal of the sea, oblivion
of the waves.
And then on every table
in the world,
salt,
we see your piquant
powder
sprinkling
vital light
upon
our food.
Preserver
of the ancient
holds of ships,
discoverer
on
the high seas,
earliest
sailor
of the unknown, shifting
byways of the foam.
Dust of the sea, in you
the tongue receives a kiss
from ocean night:
taste imparts to every seasoned
dish your ocean essence;
the smallest,
miniature
wave from the saltcellar
reveals to us
more than domestic whiteness;
in it, we taste finitude.

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