Friday, June 22, 2007

Pablo Neruda's Love Sonnets - 3 poems for summer

Since a bunch of you were enthusiastic about my summer poetry challenge pick of Neruda, I thought I'd finish the week of with a few of his 100 Love Sonnets - one from each of the 3 sections - morning, afternoon, and night, translated by Stephen Tapscott.

I love the handful of the earth you are.
Because of its meadows, vast as a planet,
I have no other star. You are my replica
of the multiplying universe.

Your wide eyes are the only light I know
from extinguished constellations;
your skin throbs like the streak
of a meteor through rain.

Your hips were that much of the moon for me;
your deep mouth and its delights, that much sun;
your heart, fiery with its long red rays,

was that much ardent light, like honey in the shade.
So I pass across your burning form, kissing
you - compact and planetary, my dove, my globe.

Your laugh: it reminds me of a tree
fissured by a lightning streak, by a silver bolt
that drops from the sky, splitting the poll,
slicing the tree with its sword.

A laugh like yours I love is born
only in the foliage and snow of the highlands,
the air's laugh that bursts loose in those altitudes,
dearest: the Araucanian tradition.

O my mountain woman, my clear Chillan volcano,
slash your laughter through the shadows,
the night, morning, honey of the noon:

birds of the foliage will leap in the air
when your laugh like an extravagant
light breaks through the tree of life.

so many of the third section are great I hardly know which to chose, but you can read them all, so I'll pick this one:

My love, if I die and you don't - ,
My love, if you die and I don't -,
let's not give grief an even greater field.
No expanse is greater than where we live.

Dust in the wheat, sand in the deserts,
time, wandering water, the vague wind
swept us on like sailing seeds.
We might not have found one another in time.

This meadow where we find ourselves,
O little infinity! we give it back.
But Love, this love has not ended:

just as it never had a birth, it has
no death: it is like a long river,
only changing lands, and changing lips.

Good summer weekend.


Anonymous said...

Well that hit the spot. There's nothing like great love poetry to brighten any day. And I'm feeling especially dreary this Monday. I've just added Neruda poetry to my "To Be Read" list. Thanks for sharing!

Ted said...

Thanks, J. S. I just checked out your place as well and am adding it to my regular read! I notice Pullman's The Golden Compass is on your TBR list - it's fabulous! Enjoy it.