PoetryPoetry Workshop

Pablo Neruda’s Unknowable Questions

Charlie examines Neruda’s “Questions”, and while he doesn’t guarantee any answers, he finds them to be a source of poetic inspiration. Perhaps you will, too. Listen to Charlie at the following links: stream or file download.

Below are Pablo Neruda’s sample poem and the poem it inspired Charlie to write.


Tell me, is the rose naked
or is that her only dress?

Why do trees conceal
the splendor of their roots?

Who hears the regrets
of the thieving automobile?

Is there anything in the world sadder
than a train standing in the rain?

William O’Daly’s trans, The Book of Questions–Copper Canyon Press.

        after Neruda

When a dog barks at the moon
is it the moon he barks at?

How do such small things
provoke such big anger?

Is there a secret to life?

If there’s a secret, who knows it
and why is he keeping it from the rest of us?

     –Charlie Rossiter

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