Neruda's Last Laugh

Photo essay: The homes of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda

by Jahanshah Javid
04-Dec-2011 The Chilean Nobel-Prize winning Pablo Neruda was a poet, writer, diplomat, dissident and all-round bon vivant. If you're a fan, pay homage to the poet with a visit to his three beloved homes in Chile: Isla Negra in Isla Negra, La Sebastiana in Valparaiso and La Chascona in Santiago. His spirit, personality and joie de vivre live on in all three homes >>>

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Hasta siempre!

by Arj on

That's how legends live; forever! Those who live in people's hearts will never die, even under the most tragic circumstances! On the other hand, petty dictators and a-holes like Pinochet are as good as dead the minute they're no longer of use to their criminal masters!

Jahanshah Javid


by Jahanshah Javid on

Thanks Nazy... loved it. Living, not just breathing :)

Nazy Kaviani

Did you follow Neruda?

by Nazy Kaviani on


I think your being there and in his house is a lot more meaningful than a tourist excursion. I wonder whether you are familiar with the following Neruda poem. It would make sense if you know about it, because I have heard you say some of the things he says here, and it seems you may have been following his advice over the recent years. (If you want to see Ahmad Shamloo's beautiful translation of this poem, go here.)

He who becomes the slave of habit,
who follows the same routes every day,
who never changes pace,
who does not risk and change the color of his clothes,
who does not speak and does not experience,
dies slowly.

He or she who shuns passion,
who prefers black on white,
dotting ones "it’s" rather than a bundle of emotions, the kind that make your eyes glimmer,
that turn a yawn into a smile,
that make the heart pound in the face of mistakes and feelings,
dies slowly.

He or she who does not turn things topsy-turvy,
who is unhappy at work,
who does not risk certainty for uncertainty,
to thus follow a dream,
those who do not forego sound advice at least once in their lives,
die slowly.

He who does not travel, who does not read,
who does not listen to music,
who does not find grace in himself,
she who does not find grace in herself,
dies slowly.

He who slowly destroys his own self-esteem,
who does not allow himself to be helped,
who spends days on end complaining about his own bad luck, about the rain that never stops,
dies slowly.

He or she who abandon a project before starting it, who fail to ask questions on subjects he doesn't know, he or she who don't reply when they are asked something they do know,
die slowly.

Let's try and avoid death in small doses,
reminding oneself that being alive requires an effort far greater than the simple fact of breathing.

Only a burning patience will lead
to the attainment of a splendid happiness.

Pablo Neruda

Red Wine


by Red Wine on



Jahanshah Javid

Resurrecting Neruda

by Jahanshah Javid on

When I visited Neruda's houses, the guides mentioned that the poet, who was a well-known for his communist views, died only a few days after Pinochet's coup. The assumption was that he fell ill because he was heartbroken for what had happened in his country.

Well, the news today is that they are going to exhume his body and see whether he was poisoned or not:



by Hodhod on

Dear JJ,


Do you know that Abdullah Omidwar is living  in Santiago ,Chile .

Anahid Hojjati

Thanks Jahanshah for great photo essay

by Anahid Hojjati on

It was nice to look at the pictures and also read parts of his works that you had as text. I also thank Esfand for his great question. Made me curious to read Neruda's biography, at least I attempted it, until I got distracted with where it talked about how one of neruda's best work is the one where he asks dead to speak through him. Very inspiring. Also it must be effect of HFB but I think this part of Hafez ghazal is a good Farsi poem for me to associate Neruda with:

ما در پیالـه عـکـس رخ یار دیده‌ایم
ای بی‌خـبر ز لذت شرب مدام ما
هرگز نمیرد آن که دلش زنده شد به عشـق
ثـبـت اسـت بر جریده عالـم دوام ما

Esfand Aashena

Nice pictures. Is he any relations to Javaher Lael Nehru?

by Esfand Aashena on

What did he do for living besides writing love poems? His home looks vast and I guess expensive.

So let me guess he wrote lovey dovey poems and women melted in his arms so he wrote more poems?!  I don't get it!  Should we switch from Shakespeare and "Romeo thou Romeo" to this guy?! 

What would be his trade mark one word, one poem?

Everything is sacred

Red Wine


by Red Wine on


کمونیسم،مارکسیسم،سوسیالیسم،ایسم،ایسم... هیچگاه این‌ها را دوست نداشتم و ندارم اما مردمانی که بدان اعتقاد دارند را محترم میشمارم...من هنوز داغدارِ مرگِ چگوارا هستم.

با سپاس از هنرمندیِ شما .

Jahanshah Javid


by Jahanshah Javid on

Wow... thank you so much Nazy and Hooshang for the poems. Absolutely beautiful.


امروز زندگی را آغاز کن

Hooshang Tarreh-Gol

آرام آرام مردن را آغاز می کنی
اگر به نواهای زندگی گوش فرا ندهی
اگربرده ی عادت خود شوی
اگر همیشه از یک راه مکرر بروی
آرام آرام مردن را آغاز کرده ای
اگر روزمرگی را تغییر ندهی
اگر رنگهای متفاوت به تن نکنی
اگر برای مطمئن، در نامطمئن خطر نکنی
امروز زندگی را آغاز کن
امروز خطر کن
امروز کاری بکن

نگذار به آرامی بمیری....

پابلو نرودا


Darius Kadivar

Il Postino

by Darius Kadivar on

Il Postino (trailer)


Very nice photo essay. Thanks for sharing.

Have a safe trip.


What Kind of An Iranian R U JJ? Where's your Spy Camera????????

by amirparvizforsecularmonarchy on

Regarding not being allowed to take pictures inside.... Never leave home with out a good spy camera from Radio Shack!  The Beauty shown in your pictures certainly brings lots of Joy.  Now I'm curious about the inside of his house on the ocean. The art & poetry seems very innocent.  They are missing something, like islam, to really make them feel the agony that could be in their possession, by having a dream mixed with a little ignorance.  How fortunate this guy Neruda was to live and love without hearing the crack of a shalag on his #$% for his unpure thoughts that help shaytan and pollute the minds of the youth for doshman. Lucky!


thanks JJ Jaan

by Nahzi on

JJ Jaan, I looked at all of the pictures you had uploaded and read all of your entries.  Thank you ever so much for sharing your memeories of Neruda's houses with us.  Altough I much prefer to have seen them for myself but your generosity enabled me to do the next best thing.  Thanks again, Nahzi

Nazy Kaviani

...پس هوا را از او بگیر خنده ات را نه...

Nazy Kaviani

این هم آغاز یک شعر عاشقانه از محسن نامجو که بدون شک تحت تاثیر همان شعر نرودا بوده:


پس هوا را از او بگیر

خنده ات را نه

هوا را از او بگیر

گریه ات را نه

که موی گندیده به چشم نیامده ات هم مازاد بر مصرف من است

من همان هشتاد برگ برجسته یک خطم

و تو زیبا نفس ناسلامت منی اکنون

اصلا تو خورشیدی

از این شعر تکراری تر ممکن است ؟

اصلا تو شراره ای

نه همان خورشیدی

که پشت ابر نمانده ای و نمی مانی و نخواهی ماند و نمانی خواه ...

سی ها سال می گذرد که بتوانم تشدید بر سلامتم بگذارم اگر تو بخواهی

و تو

آآآی تو

ناسلامت کرده مرا و سلامت می کنم من...

هوا را از من بگیر

خنده ات را نه

هوا را فضا را از من بگیر

غذا را و فضا را و قضا را از من بگیر

حظ ها را از من بگیر

خنده ات را نه

(شعر کامل اینجا: //

Nazy Kaviani

..take air away, but do not take from me your laughter...

by Nazy Kaviani on

Take breath away from me, if you wish,
take air away, but
do not take from me your laughter.

Do not take away the rose,
the lanceflower that you pluck,
the water that suddenly
bursts forth in your joy,
the sudden wave
of silver born in you.

My struggle is harsh and I come back
with eyes tired
at times from having seen
the unchanging earth,
but when your laughter enters
it rises to the sky seeking me
and it opens for me all
the doors of life.

My love, in the darkest
hour your laughter
opens, and if suddenly
you see my blood staining
the stones of the street,
laugh, because your laughter
will be for my hands
like a fresh sword.

Next to the sea in the autumn,
your laughter must raise
its foamy cascade,
and in the spring, love,
I want your laughter like
the flower I was waiting for,
the blue flower, the rose
of my echoing country.

Laugh at the night,
at the day, at the moon,
laugh at the twisted
streets of the island,
laugh at this clumsy
boy who loves you,
but when I open
my eyes and close them,
when my steps go,
when my steps return,
deny me bread, air,
ligh, spring,
but never your laughter
for I would die.