I don't think that the Chile of today can be divided into nerudianos and mistralianos. Pablo Neruda was a san Pedro wrong and a st. Paul struck by lightning. Gabriela Mistral has something of the severity and of the genius of st. Teresa of Avila, and we should understand it with the utmost care. The then young man, Pablo Neruda arrived in Mexico in 1940, newly appointed consul general of Chile, shortly after the armed assault of David Alfaro Siqueiros to the residence mexicana de Leon Trotsky. Gave visa chilean Siqueiros, without the authorization of the Government of the Popular Front, which has already sent in Chile, and its lack of administrative discipline was sanctioned by the authorities of those days.
I was at the Habana Libre hotel, Havana, in January of 1968 and I had to be a witness of the following curious scene. Spent Siqueiros in-person, rapid, disheveled, and a group of surrealists in the region, led by the painter Roberto Matta, he kicked on his skinny back and the women screamed, with every blow: “By Trotsky, Trotsky!”. Nicolás Guillén, poet and official in cuba, organized a public act of reparation to the painter mexican muralist.
I Also saw an interview with Neruda on the eve of the meeting of the Swedish Academy that he would decide on his Nobel Prize in 1971. The interview took place in the hall of the third floor of the Embassy of Chile in Paris, the number two in the avenue de la Motte-Picquet. The interviewer was Edouard Bailby, a journalist of center liberal, and questions about Siqueiros, Trotsky and the ode nerudiana Stalin beaters cornered to our poet, until he cried out, overwhelmed, and still resounds in my ears that unusual exclamation: “Je me suis trompé”. “I was wrong”... it Was like saying: maybe I'm wrong and I can get to understand the reasons for you.
If you read the memoirs in verse of Neruda's Memorial de Grandbetting Isla Negra, which are more revealing that their memories into prose, it can be seen that the poet was fully aware of their mistakes. In his poem The truth he wrote that he loved the idealism and the realism, and that it was “decidedly triangular”, that is to say, not bilateral, and supporter of the division jacobian in “good and bad citizens.”
The first friends to arrive to congratulate him for the Nobel were an attorney, conservative, Mariano Puga Vega, and a French poet and communist, Louis Aragon. Were visits conflicting, symbolic, and when Neruda was presented at the headquarters of the Unesco in a tribute to him, he read on the stage, the greatest poems of Gabriela Mistral. It was a moving moment, unique. It was long decades, Gabriela, director of the Lyceum for Girls in Temuco, had received the visit of a boy named Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basualto, and that had given him his first poems, and she had lent her books, because the child poet was thirsty for reading. Gabriela, that he was right, he knew right away that child was a poet, and to all who have access to the correspondence of Gabriela Mistral will understand that was one of our best americanism, which he understood better than any other of the great figures of Spanish-american of his time.
I suggest then that you make no mistake now and try to practice the difficult art of making decisions “decidedly triangular”, to adopt the words of the poem The truth, where he confesses Neruda that he has written so many poems about the First of May, from that confession, just write about the day 2 of that month. It was a direct result of the awesome “je me suis trompé”, which the self-appointed nerudólogos will be always the last to understand. And I would add: that the nombradores of airports study these complicated affairs with the due calm and without the need of loading it with reason in tow, as he blows the poet to the ear. Because the poet was mistaken. Gabriela, severe, dignified, with a look more high, more long-term, is not mistaken almost never.
If the vote, in this strange choice of names, outside secret, I already know what name to vote for it, without the slightest doubt. Gabriela was a great precursor to the feminism of now. He was the poet of motherhood and the american children. The great poet of the future, the consensus in the new societies our. In other words, the precursor of the spaces of freedom of our worlds marginalized and misunderstood.
George Edwards (Santiago de Chile, 1931) is winner of the Cervantes prize.