#1-3 Tonight I Can Write (The Saddest Lines), Translation: W. S. Merwin
1. Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.
2. Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.
She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.
3. I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.
#4-5 Every Day You Play, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, Translation: W. S. Merwin
4. You are like nobody since I love you.
5. My words rained over you, stroking you.
A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body.
I go so far as to think that you own the universe.
I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells,
dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.
to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.
#6 Childhood and Poetry, Neruda and Vallejo
6. To feel the intimacy of brothers is a marvelous thing in life. To feel the love of people whom we love is a fire that feeds our life. But to feel the affection that comes from those whom we do not know, from those unknown to us, who are watching over our sleep and solitude, over our dangers and our weaknesses — that is something still greater and more beautiful because it widens out the boundaries of our being, and unites all living things.
#7 Sonnet Lxxiii: Maybe You’ll Remember
7. Then love knew it was called love.
And when I lifted my eyes to your name,
suddenly your heart showed me my way.
#8 Ode to Things
8. I have a crazy,
crazy love of things.
I like pliers,
not to speak, of course,
and flower vases.
#9 If You Forget Me
if each day,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.
#10 Love (Amor)
10. That’s why I love you and yet not why.
There are so many reasons, and yet so few,
for love has to be so,
involving and general,
particular and terrifying,
joyful and grieving,
flowering like the stars,
and measureless as a kiss.
#11 Sonnet XII, Full woman, fleshly apple, hot moon, Translation: Stephen Mitchell
11. Loving is a journey with water and with stars,
with smothered air and abrupt storms of flour:
loving is a clash of lightning-bolts
and two bodies defeated by a single drop of honey.
#12 Night on the Island
12. I have slept with you
all night long while
the dark earth spins
with the living and the dead,
and on waking suddenly
in the midst of the shadow
my arm encircled your waist.
Neither night nor sleep
could separate us.
Excerpt from Wikipedia: Pablo Neruda (July 12, 1904 – September 23, 1973) was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean poet and politician Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. He chose his pen name after Czech poet Jan Neruda.
Neruda wrote in a variety of styles such as erotically charged love poems as in his collection Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of Despair, surrealist poems, historical epics, and overtly political manifestos. In 1971 Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez once called him “the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language.” Neruda always wrote in green ink as it was his personal color of hope.
Sayings by Pablo Neruda
#1 Everybody, The Sea and the Bells, Translation: William O’Daly
1. Why search in vain
in every door in which we will not exist
because we have not arrived yet?
That is how I found out
that I was exactly like you
and like everybody.
#2 The Lost Ones of the Forest, Translation: William O’Daly
2. Everything is ceremony in the wild garden
of childhood: apples sit beside the river
descended from black snow hidden in the Andes:
apples whose sour blush hasn’t know the teeth
of men, only the pecking of ravenous birds,
apples that invented a natural symmetry
and move slowly toward sweetness.
#3-4 Memoirs, Translation: Hardie St. Martin [S]
3. The child who doesn’t play is not a child, but the man who doesn’t play has lost forever the child who lived in him and he will certainly miss him. (Poetry Is an Occupation)
4. Poetry is an act of peace. Peace goes into the making of a poet as flour goes into the making of bread. (Rafael Alberti)
#5 Your Feet, Translation: Donald D. Walsh
5. But I love your feet
only because they walked
upon the earth and upon
the wind and upon the waters,
until they found me.
#6 Your Laughter, Translation: Donald D. Walsh
6. Laugh at the night,
at the day, at the moon,
laugh at the twisted
streets of the island,
laugh at this clumsy
boy who loves you,
but when I open
my eyes and close them,
when my steps go,
when my steps return,
deny me bread, air,
but never your laughter
for I would die.
#7 Sonnet VIII: If your eyes were not the color of the moon
7. everything is alive so that I can be alive:
without moving I can see it all:
in your life I see everything that lives.
#8 The Dead Woman
8. If you are not living,
if you, beloved, my love,
all the leaves will fall on my breast,
it will rain upon my soul night and day,
the snow will burn my heart,
I shall walk with cold and fire and death and snow,
my feet will want to march toward where you sleep,
I shall go on living,
because you wanted me to be, above all things,
and, love, because you know that I am not just one man
but all men.
#9 The Song of Despair, Translation: W. S. Merwin
9. There were thirst and hunger, and you were the fruit.
There were grief and the ruins, and you were the miracle.
#10 Perhaps not to be is to be without your being
10. and it follows that I am, because you are:
it follows from ‘you are’, that I am, and we:
and, because of love, you will, I will,
We will, come to be.
11. Our love was born
outside the walls,
in the wind,
in the night,
in the earth,
and that’s why the clay and the flower,
the mud and the roots
know your name,
and know that my mouth
because we were sown together in the earth
#12 To Envy
12. and I’m not me but living matter
fermenting and forming its own shapes
in the fruitfulness of every day.
Poems by Pablo Neruda
Ode to The Cat
Men would like to be fish or fowl,
snakes would rather have wings,
and dogs would rather be lions.
Engineers want to be poets,
flies emulate swallows,
and poets try hard to act like flies.
But the cat
wants nothing more than to be a cat,
and every cat is pure cat
from its whiskers to its tail,
from sixth sense to squirming rat,
from nighttime to its golden eyes
Nothing hangs together quite like a cat
neither flowers nor the moon have
It is a thing by itself
like the sun or a topaz
Of everything I have seen,
it’s you I want to go on seeing:
of everything I’ve touched,
it’s your flesh I want to go on touching.
I love your orange laughter.
I am moved by the sight of you sleeping.
What am I to do, love, loved one?
I don’t know how others love
or how people loved in the past.
I live, watching you, loving you.
Being in love is my nature.
Never an Illness…, The Sea and the Bells, Translation: William O’Daly
Never an illness, nor the absence
of grandeur, no,
nothing is able to kill the best in us,
that kindness, dear sir, we are afflicted with:
beautiful is the flower of man, his conduct,
and every door opens on the beautiful truth
and never hides treacherous whispers.
I always gained something from making myself better,
better than I am, better than I was,
that most subtle citation:
to recover some lost petal
of the sadness I inherited:
to search once more for the light that sings
inside of me, the unwavering light.
Before I loved you, love, nothing was my own:
I wavered through the streets, among
Nothing mattered or had a name:
The world was made of air, which waited.
I knew rooms full of ashes,
Tunnels where the moon lived,
Rough warehouses that growled ‘get lost’,
Questions that insisted in the sand.
Everything was empty, dead, mute,
Fallen abandoned, and decayed:
Inconceivably alien, it all
Belonged to someone else – to no one:
Till your beauty and your poverty
Filled the autumn plentiful with gifts.
Love Sonnet XVII
I do not love you as if you were a salt rose, or topaz
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark 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 solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly 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 no other way
than this: where I does 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.
Unsourced Pablo Neruda Quotes
1. Let us forget with generosity those who cannot love us.
2. Someday, somewhere – anywhere, unfailingly, you’ll find yourself, and that, and only that, can be the happiest or bitterest hour of your life.
3. The books that help you most are those which make you think that most. The hardest way of learning is that of easy reading; but a great book that comes from a great thinker is a ship of thought, deep freighted with truth and beauty.
4. Laughter is the language of the soul.
5. You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.