Riehlife Poem of the Day: Pablo Neruda Sonnet, revisited

I’ve been thinking of Pablo Neruda recently for a surprising reason. I’m going the Greece. I have this dreamy idea of Greece as a land of lovers and poets.

I recalled one of my favorite movies which formed my dreamy image: Il Postino (The Postman), a 1994 Italian language film directed by Michael Radford, It features Neruda, a Chilean poet who collected houses. In the fictional story of the film, the setting for Neruda’s house was in Procida, whose colorful fishing port of Corricella became famous after the release of the film.

When I mentioned Neruda and Il Postino to a friend, he suggested a book which I immediately ordered. Pablo Neruda: Absence and Presence (photos by Luis Poirot and translations by Alistair Reed. Isbn
978-0393306439) This beautiful book features text of poems in both Spanish and English on the left hand page faced by evocative black and white photographs on the right hand facing page.

With these added memories and sensual evocations, I now return to the Neruda Sonnet.



Sonnet XVII
by Pablo Neruda
100 Love Sonnets

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Soneto XVII
Pablo Neruda
Cien Sonetos de Amor

No te amo como si fueras rosa de sal, topacio
o flecha de claveles que propagan el fuego:
te amo como se aman ciertas cosas oscuras,
secretamente, entre la sombra y el alma.

Te amo como la planta que no florece y lleva
dentro de sí, escondida, la luz de aquellas flores,
y gracias a tu amor vive oscuro en mi cuerpo
el apretado aroma que ascendió de la tierra.

Te amo sin saber cómo, ni cuándo, ni de dónde,
te amo directamente sin problemas ni orgullo:
así te amo porque no sé amar de otra manera,

sino así de este modo en que no soy ni eres,
tan cerca que tu mano sobre mi pecho es mía,
tan cerca que se cierran tus ojos con mi sueño.

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