One Boy’s Pablo Neruda

This is a children’s book by well-known  Chilean writer Poli Délano, who was born in 1936.  At that time,  his family was living in Madrid, Spain, where they become friends with the poet Pablo Neruda and his wife Delia del Carril. Both families were originally from Chile.

Between 1940 and 1943, Neruda and his wife lived in Mexico City. This memoir is set at this time and follows the beloved poet’s relationship with the young Enrique Délano Falcón – whose nickname became Policarpo and eventually shortened to Poli – and his adventures and misadventures.

Adults and children will be equally charmed  by Poli and his encounters with the most amazing animals and insects; by his experience of being bullied in a boarding school where he had to stay when his family and Neruda travelled to New York. Perhaps the most touching story is that of Poli wanting to buy a fountain pen and a watch and in order to find the money he decided to sell chewing gum at the cinema and clean cars in the car park. When the poor children saw him taking over their job, they violently sent him away. Poli was very angry and frustrated by the incident but his parents and Tio (uncle) Neruda calmly explained that those children needed the job to eat while his motives were purely superficial.

This memoir is full of intricate little accounts about Neruda: for example his passion for collecting things and the time spent in the antique markets in Mexico City looking for strange objects to add to his unique and growing collection; his very strange food habits, including insects and monkeys. But what clearly stands out here in this memoir is his touching relationship with a very young boy.

There are six of Neruda’s poems included in the book and a short biography of the poet that will clearly serve to introduce his life and work to younger generations. Manuel Monroy’s illustrations perfectly match the spirit of the text.

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15 thoughts on “One Boy’s Pablo Neruda

  1. There’s a Québec village called Saint-Polycarpe whose exit we pass on our way to Montréal from the GTA. I always look at it and thank heaven that I was not christened Polycarpe. I believe he was an ancient, non-inflammable, Church Father. Narrowly missed being named Alphonse…

    Neruda is one writer on my long list that I haven’t yet read. This is a charming reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right. I can be in Mexico in 45 minutes, but there are reasons not to go there. But I can resist best from just this side by helping people who have just crossed – I have a big old car.
      I don’t know yet. I may head north first and beg for spinal surgery because I’m not much good in my present condition…it’s scary, that’s for sure.
      Thanks for your awareness, Sean XO Claire

      Like

    1. Oh, hello dear Valerie!
      Wow, you really lost everything? God, that’s really horrible.
      Things have not been well for me. I ended up in a nursing home. The only good thing about it was that I was a kid compared to the rest of the inmates. I caused a certain amount of trouble there, heh heh…I’m home now, but still didn’t get the surgery I need approved.
      I will visit your site soon. Hope you are doing okay, my friend.
      XXOO Claire

      Liked by 1 person

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