In celebration of Valentine’s Day, I share this poem with you. My favourite love poem. It is by Pablo Neruda, Nobel laureate who arose to great popularity in North America during the 60’s. While he was more widely known for his political poetry here, at home in Chile, he was also equally loved for his earthy, sensual poems. His Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, One Hundred Love Sonnets was a collection written to his beloved wife, Matilde Urrutia de Neruda. I dedicate this poem to Nodar Kumaritashvili, the fallen luge athlete from the Republic of Georgia and to all of the peaceful protesters and activists who are here during the Olympics, pouring their heart, soul and passion into making our world a more loving place. Y un beso con suerte (kiss for luck) to all the athletes!
Love Sonnet XVII
I do not love you as if you were 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.
– “Pablo Neruda