Thursday, April 24, 2008
On Wednesday we made our way to Isla Negra and the ocean-front home of the great 20th century poet, Pablo Neruda. Neruda had three homes in Chile. One in Santiago, one in Valparaiso and his favorite one in Isla Negra with its spectacular view of the Pacific coast. The home is now a museum and we were able to get an english speaking tour guide to take us through it.
The home was designed like a ship and the living room contains enormous figureheads salvaged from ships from all over the world. The figureheads are arranged in various locations around the large two story room but they are all oriented toward the sea which is part of the room through the floor to ceiling western windows.
Neruda was a collector and the home contains impressive collections of butterflies, moths and seashells among other things.
In his study there is a desk that he made from the hatch door of a ship. The story is that he was laying in bed and saw it floating out on the surf and told his wife, "Here comes my desk." He went down to the rocks and waited several hours until it made landfall.
Neruda is significantly mentioned in Isabel Allende's 1982 novel, House of Spirits as The Poet. He was renowned for his verses of love and inspiration for political change.