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Monday, July 12, 2004

A tribute to Pablo Neruda: on his 100th birthday

Not about food today chez Pim. In case you've forgotten, today is the centennial of Pablo Neruda, who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1971. I think it will be fun to do have my little tribute to him by posting one of my favorite poems by him.

In his Soneto XVII, I found some of the most beautiful verses ever written about love.


I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know of no other way

than this, in which I do not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall into a dream.

What other kind of love is there but this?

I am such a romantic, I know. Neruda poems make me want to learn Spanish. I might still, perhaps after I rescue my French from mediocrity.

Soneto XVII
Pablo Neruda

No te amo como si fueras rosa de sal,topacio
o flecha de claveles que propagan el fuego:
te amo como se aman ciertas cosas oscuras,
secretamente, entre la sombra y el alma.

Te amo como la planta que no florece y lleva
dentro de sí, escondida, la luz de aquellas flores,
y gracias a tu amor vive oscuro en mi cuerpo
el apretado aroma que ascendió de la tierra.

Te amo sin saber cómo, ni cuándo, ni de dónde,
te amo directamente sin problemas ni orgullo:
así te amo porque no sé amar de otra manera,

sino así de este modo en que no soy ni eres,
tan cerca que tu mano sobre mi pecho es mía,
tan cerca que se cierran tus ojos con mi sueño.
--------------

Je ne t'aime pas comme rose de sel, ni topaze
Ni comme flèche d'oeillets propageant le feu:
Je t'aime comme l'on aime certaines choses obscures,
De façon secrète, entre l'ombre et l'âme.

Je t'aime comme la plante qui ne fleurit pas
Et porte en soi, cachée, la lumière de ces fleurs,
Et grâce à ton amour dans mon corps vit l'arôme
Obscur et concentré montant de la terre.

Je t'aime sans savoir comment, ni quand, ni d'où,
Je t'aime directement sans problèmes ni orgueil:
Je t'aime ainsi car je ne sais aimer autrement,

Si ce n'est de cette façon sans être ni toi ni moi,
Aussi près que ta main sur ma poitrine est la mienne,
Aussi près que tes yeux se ferment sur mon rêve.
--------------

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations which propogates fire.
I love you as certain obscure things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain dense fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives secretly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know of no other way

than this, in which I do not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
-----------------------------

Say, have you got a Neruda favorite?

p.s. I found the French translation on this site. The English translation is also based on the one on that site with revision by me, from the French, I don't read Spanish.

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