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Ahh, Pablo Neruda

Posted by hughrandle@gmail.com on November 22, 2011 at 12:30 AM




Pablo Neruda was a Chilean poet who lived from 1904 to 1973. He was highly political and embraced Soviet Russian thinking for a number of years. He won the Pulitzer Prize in Literature in 1971 and his writing is voluminous covering over 400 volumes. What strikes me about Pablo Neruda is his beautiful, haunting love poems, not bubble gummy and syrupy and everything turns out okay in the end as the hero and heroine ride off into the sunset, but real, of love that tugs at you and creeps up on you and that inflicts pain as well as pleasure. Here is a poem of Neruda, simply called Sonnet XVII, made a little more well known as it was recited by Robin Williams in his portrayal of Dr. Patch Adams in the movie by the same name. In the movie, Adams begins to recite it to the object of his affection Carin, but is unable to finish it. Only after she is killed and Adams is alone at her gravesite can he recite the end of the poem to her . Here then, is Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda: 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.

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