Neruda meme!

Begun by Sylvia, then continued here and here and here and here. And now here, and next with you if you choose to post a poem by Pablo Neruda, with English translation, on your blog.

It was hard to choose just one, but I chose this one because, despite my love of poetry, it’s one of the few poems I’ve memorized in my life, and the only one I’ve memorized in Spanish. (Sonnet XI, “I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair” was a close second.)

SONETO XVII

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 por que 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.

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 complexity 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.

(translation by Stephen Tapscott)

3 Responses to “Neruda meme!”


  1. 1 petitpoussin

    Hooray for choosing this one! Those last three lines get me every time.

  2. 2 Amanda

    This is my favorite love sonnet :) I also have it memorized. The first time I read it, I loved it, but as I mature I keep finding more and more in it.

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