Sonnet XVII - Pablo Neruda

Several people have recommended this poet to me, and there were so many beautiful, haunting poems to choose from that it took me ages to settle on this one - such a crystallized expression of la duende, (and of tango of course), of the dark places we carry with us and still manage to love from.

Sonnet XVII - 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.

More of Pablo Neruda's poems can be found here:

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