One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII

By Pablo Neruda 1904–1973 Pablo Neruda

Translated By Mark Eisner

I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,   
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:   
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,   
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries   
the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,   
and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose   
from the earth lives dimly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,   
I love you directly without problems or pride:
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,
except in this form in which I am not nor are you,   
so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,   
so close that your eyes close with my dreams.

Pablo Neruda, “One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII” from The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems, edited by Mark Eisner. Copyright © 2004 City Lights Books.

Source: The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems (City Lights Books, 2004)

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Poet Pablo Neruda 1904–1973

POET’S REGION Latin America

Subjects Relationships, Love, Romantic Love

Holidays Valentine's Day

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 Pablo  Neruda

Biography

“No writer of world renown is perhaps so little known to North Americans as Chilean poet Pablo Neruda,” observed New York Times Book Review critic Selden Rodman. Numerous critics have praised Neruda as the greatest poet writing in the Spanish language during his lifetime, although many readers in the United States have found it difficult to disassociate Neruda’s poetry from his fervent commitment to communism. An added . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Romantic Love

POET’S REGION Latin America

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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