Before today, I never really read anything by Pablo Neruda. I remember that one of my friends in high school was really enthusiastic about his work. Now, I know why. His poetry is beautiful, sexy, and truly amazing. Enjoy!
One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII
(Translated by Mark Eisner)
I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries
the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,
and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose
from the earth lives dimly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you directly without problems or pride:
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,
except in this form in which I am not nor are you,
so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,
so close that your eyes close with my dreams.
‘Carnal apple, Woman filled, burning moon’
Carnal apple, Woman filled, burning moon,
dark smell of seaweed, crush of mud and light,
what secret knowledge is clasped between your pillars?
What primal night does Man touch with his senses?
Ay, Love is a journey through waters and stars,
through suffocating air, sharp tempests of grain:
Love is a war of lightning,
and two bodies ruined by a single sweetness.
Kiss by kiss I cover your tiny infinity,
your margins, your rivers, your diminutive villages,
and a genital fire, transformed by delight,
slips through the narrow channels of blood
to precipitate a nocturnal carnation,
to be, and be nothing but light in the dark.
Ode to a Naked Beauty
With chaste heart, and pure
I celebrate you, my beauty,
restraining my blood
so that the line
surges and follows
and you bed yourself in my verse,
as in woodland, or wave-spume:
whether it is your feet, arching
at a primal touch
of sound or breeze,
or your ears,
tiny spiral shells
from the splendour of America’s oceans.
Your breasts also,
of equal fullness, overflowing
with the living light
your eyelids of silken corn
the deep twin landscapes of your eyes.
The line of your back
falls away into paler regions
to the smooth hemispheres
of an apple,
and goes splitting
into two pillars
of burnt gold, pure alabaster,
to be lost in the twin clusters of your feet,
from which, once more, lifts and takes fire
the double tree of your symmetry:
flower of fire, open circle of candles,
swollen fruit raised
over the meeting of earth and ocean.
Your body – from what substances
agate, quartz, ears of wheat,
did it flow, was it gathered,
rising like bread
in the warmth,
and signalling hills
valleys of a single petal, sweetnesses
of velvet depth,
until the pure, fine, form of woman
and rested there?
It is not so much light that falls
over the world
extended by your body
its suffocating snow,
as brightness, pouring itself out of you,
as if you were
Under your skin the moon is alive