A Taste of Chile - 2002

The house looked very comfortable despite all the “stuff” crowding around. One room in the house was built just to display a life-size horse statue that had been in a store in the town where he grew up; he tried for years to buy it from the shopkeeper but could not get it until that gentleman has passed away. All the rooms, the bedrooms, a dining room, a living room, a private study, a library, the “horse room,” were quite differently and idiosyncratically decorated with many things of interest in each one. An artist friend made a special mantelpiece for the fireplace in the sitting room. She used only stones found in Chile and designed an abstract pattern; Neruda wanted each visitor to imagine for himself what the stone mosaic pictured. Neruda and his third, and surely his favorite wife, are buried on the property in a boat- like setting at the edge of the cliffs. The poet liked to pretend that he was a ship’s captain all his life and so his grave setting looks like he finally has a boat to call his own.

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