A Poem for a Thursday #31

Photo by Roksolana Zasiadko on Unsplash

Pablo Neruda was a Chilean poet-diplomat and politician. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. Neruda has been called the greatest poet writing in Spanish during his lifetime. He is not more well-known in the English speaking world because his work is viewed as hard to translate. His political affiliations caused controversy since he supported Communism and Stalin. When the Chilean government declared Communism illegal Neruda was expelled from the Senate and went into hiding. Neruda died in 1973 shortly after leaving a hospital where he was being treated for cancer. He suspected the doctor was trying to poison him under orders from Pinochet who had just successfully led a coup d'etat. In 2013 the government issued a statement saying it was "highly likely" Neruda was killed because of "intervention of third parties."  Neruda is commonly viewed as the national poet of Chile. His love poems are particularly well-known. Here is one of them.

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. 

Sonnet XVII
Pablo Neruda
Translated by Mark Eisner

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  1. I absolutely love Pablo Neruda's poetry. This one is beautiful! Thanks for sharing ...

    1. Posting a weekly poem definitely has expanded my horizons. This is beautiful, isn't it? I'll have to read more of his poetry.