Borrowing Words

Wednesday, December 8th, 2004 • 3 Comments on Borrowing Words

I seem to be at a loss for words the past couple of days, but Amy‘s discussion of poetry has caught my eye.  Last night I suggested one of my favorite Pablo Neruda poems for her to discuss.  I had forgotten how much I like him.  Sad, melancholy, full of passion—I really love his poetry.  I spent some time last night reading my favorites and found some others I hadn’t read before, which inspired me to add this collection to my wish list.

Since I seem to be suffering from writer’s block, I’ll share two of my favorite Neruda poems.  The first is the one I recommended to Amy (and if you enjoy poetry, I highly recommend dropping by her blog—she discusses it far more eloquently than I ever could) and the second is a sonnet, one of my favorite poetry forms.  Both are about unconditional love and bittersweet longing.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll throw in a naughty limerick to balance out the sap.  Heh.


Here I Love You

Here I love you.
In the dark pines the wind disentangles itself.
The moon glows like phosphorous on the vagrant waters.
Days, all one kind, go chasing each other.

The snow unfurls in dancing figures.
A silver gull slips down from the west.
Sometimes a sail. High, high stars.
Oh the black cross of a ship.

Sometimes I get up early and even my soul is wet.
Far away the sea sounds and resounds.
This is a port.

Here I love you.
Here I love you and the horizon hides you in vain.
I love you still among these cold things.
Sometimes my kisses go on those heavy vessels
that cross the sea towards no arrival.
I see myself forgotten like those old anchors.

The piers sadden when the afternoon moors there.
My life grows tired, hungry to no purpose.
I love what I do not have. You are so far.
My loathing wrestles with the slow twilights.
But night comes and starts to sing to me.

The moon turns its clockwork dream.
The biggest stars look at me with your eyes.
And as I love you, the pines in the wind
want to sing your name with their leaves of wire.

Sonnet XVII (I do not love you…)

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.

Posted by Kristina in Life
  • Amy says:

    Hi, Kristina! Thanks for the acknowledgment on your blog.

    On, man, now *I* want The Essential Neruda. I don’t have any of his books, just a few of his poems lying around. I’m going to post the one you suggested in the next few days.

    BTW, Sonnet VII is the one my husband and I had read at our tenth anniversary last year. I adore that poem. Gorgeous.

    I’m intersted in your writer’s block… are you trying to work on something specific, and it just isn’t happening? Can’t write anything? Curious.


  • Rachel says:

    I’ve never read anything by Neruda before, but you’ve inspired me to take a look!  Thanks.

  • Suzanne says:

    My son has requested a volume of Neruda poems for Christmas.  I’m hoping once I give him his own, he’ll return the one he swiped from me. smile

    Thanks for sharing your favorites.

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