Love Sonnet XVII

Tonight I was working on a private journal and I struggled as I tried to tell you on those quiet unseen pages, just what it is I feel.  I hope if ever you read those pages, you will know what it was I wanted to say.  Some seem to say it so easily and so beautifully.

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I don’t love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as certain dark things are loved,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom and carries
hidden within itself the light of those flowers,
and thanks to your love, darkly in my body
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems or pride:
I love you in this way because I don’t know any other way of loving

but this, in which there is no I or you,
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.

Pablo Neruda

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2 thoughts on “Love Sonnet XVII

  1. What I love about this poem is its conception of love as latent, hidden somewhere deep within, but still very real–perhaps more real because of that. If you really like Neruda, check out Red Poppy at http://www.redpoppy.net. It’s a non-profit set up to create a documentary about Neruda, publish his biography, and translate his works into English.

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