Ode to the fork

After nearly 2 years of planning and debate, a group of Pasadena residents finally got their big wish when the city let them permanently stick their fork in the road. / Gary Friedman, Los Angeles Times

A giant fork has been erected in Pasadena, according to the LA Times.  At 18 feet tall, it is more than 25 times the height of your average utensil.  It was placed, initially, as a jokester’s birthday present – to mark a “fork in the road.”  But I think Pablo Neruda would appreciate the majesty it exudes.  The Chilean poet’s Odes to Common Things similarly make the most mundane objects seem big and significant.

Here’s an excerpt from “Oda a las cosas” (Ode to Things”) that opens the series:

I have a crazy,
crazy love of things.
I like pliers,
and scissors.
I love
and bowls –
not to speak, or course,
of hats.
I love
all things,
not just
the grandest,
small –
and flower vases.

Neruda doesn’t write about the humble fork, but he does contemplate the spoon.  The author traces its history from design by “man’s / most ancient hand” to the point when “spoons / started turning up / all over the world /in ever / more / perfect / form.”  Finally, he envisions the future: “… a world / without hunger / and a total mobilization of spoons.”


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