And it was at that age … Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don’t know, I don’t know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don’t know how or when,
no they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.
I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.
And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.
Neruda: Selected Poems by Pablo Neruda
“Under the Milky Way Tonight” by The Church
2 thoughts on ““Poetry” by Pablo Neruda”
There is no book I value more than my Grossman Publisher Cape Editions of Twenty Love Poems And A Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda (translated by W.S. Merwin.- a brilliant poet) that I bought around the time that I wed. XIV begins: “Juegas todos los días con la luz del universo,” “Every day you play with the light of the universe”. We are so fortunate that Poetry came in search of Neruda.
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We are incredibly fortunate.
I didn’t realize Merwin had translated Neruda. Funny you mention him, because I am anxiously awaiting the release of Copper Canyon’s The Essential W.S. Merwin. I was one of its financial backers and in return, my Aunt Karen (who gifted me the love of poetry via Shel Silverstein) will have her name incribed in the list of backers. I’ve loved Merwin since I discovered his poem “Thank You”… (we are waving and saying thank you, dark though it is). You may like this little bit today for Sue:
Let me imagine that we will come again
when we want to and it will be spring
we will be no older than we ever were
—W.S. Merwin, from “To Paula in Late Spring”
It’s hard for me to pick a favorite Neruda. Impossible. But Sonnet XVII is definitely in the Top 10:
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.
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