Photo Credit: magical_world
The Chilean Nobel Prize winning poet Pablo Neruda owned three homes in Chile–two outside Santiago and one in Barrio Bellavista in Santiago. His home in Bellavista is named after his third wife Mathilde: “La Chascona” which pays tribute to her unruly hair.
Neruda was one of the strongest influences during my graduate studies in poetry. His use of the sea, death, harvest, and light is potent. I always imagined that his home would be full of pretty odds and ends like the lyrical inspirations that poets often collect for their work. We are like scavengers, often with a penchant for eccentric collections outside of language.
Neruda collected all things nautical including mastheads and model ships. Because of his travels and political assignments in different countries, he owned exotic art pieces. I particularly liked his Portuguese cut crystal goblets in brilliant colors of green and red.
One of the most striking pieces of art in the home is a painting by the Mexican painter and muralist Diego Rivera. He and Neruda met in Mexico City. At this time, Neruda was involved in an extramarital affair with a beautiful Chilean singer named Mathilde Urrutia. Rivera portrayed Mathilde in an fierce portrait.
Photo Credit: David Lansing
It is said that Neruda fell in love with Mathilde because she was born in the same area of Chile and was a firm connection to Chile and his past.
Neruda helped plan La Chascona, and the home design was essentially a ship on land. The section of the house shown below is the lighthouse section. The roof is a deck with a view of the surrounding mountains.
Photo Credit: Ryan Greenberg
The home is extremely modest and cozy. It is easy to see Neruda enjoying the home with Mathilde in his older years.
Photo Credit: betta design
The following plaque at La Chascona contains a section of the Neruda poem “I Request Silence.”
Photo Credit: Vale_O
It is a question of how much I have lived
that I want to live that much more.
I have never felt so resonant,
I have never received so many kisses.
Now, as always, it’s early.
The light flies with its bees.
Leave me alone with the day.
I request permission to be born.
Photo Credit: nunocalvin