Pablo Neruda Sonnet XVII


Ah, that's more like it, I hear you say! A poem from one of the 20th century's greatest love poets (Gabriel Garcia Marquez's claim, not mine). And it doesn't disappoint- full of longing, and passion, and conflict. Choose it as a wedding reading for extra brownie points.

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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