By Pablo Neruda
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.
Pablo Neruda, “One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII” from The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems, edited by Mark Eisner. Copyright © 2004 City Lights Books.
Source: The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems (City Lights Books, 2004)
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Matilde, years or days
here or there,
twisting my spine,
bleeding true blood,
perhaps I awaken
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hospital beds, foreign windows,
white uniforms of the silent walkers,
the clumsiness of feet.
And then, these journeys
and my sea of renewal:
your head on the pillow,
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among the market vegetables,
from the ocean
lying in front of me
by the earth's green froth
bunches of carrots—
the sea's truth, survived
the unknown, the
darkness, the depths
of the sea,
le grand abîme,
to that deepest night.
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