Sonnet 17 (XVII) – by Pablo Neruda
Pablo Neruda is one of the most celebrated poets who has inscribed 100 love sonnets. In this post, you will read the 17th of this collection originally published in the book Cien sonetos de amor in the year 1960. An intriguing feature of Pablo’s love sonnet collection was that he divided the book into four distinctive parts. He titled them Manana, Mediodia, Tarde and Noche which translate to morning, afternoon, evening and night.
Sonnet XVII falls in the first part of the book- Morning.
Presumably, Neruda wrote these verses of 100 sonnets for his third wife, Matilde Urrutia. While he makes the poem a tad complicated to comprehend, it sure falls under the supreme of romantic poems!
Love Sonnet- XVII
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.
Throughout the poem, the poet describes his emotions towards his partners. Interestingly, his comparisons that match his feelings are much different from the usual ones like the moon and the stars. Neruda has used quite a different approach; instead of blooming flowers, he associates his feelings with an ungrown plant. With no idea about how he fell for her, and what kind of a person she is, he loves her beyond ordinary.