Poem I Love: All About Love

by cynthiarendon

I woke up in a loving mood this morning. So I spent time prowling around my mess of a library looking for my beaten copy of Pablo Neruda’s “One Hundred Love Sonnets”. What is it about these poems? They sweep me off my feet. 

They were written between 1955–1957, and were mainly inspired by his third wife, Matilde Urrutia. Highly passionate, sometimes whimsical, and always imaginative, the sonnets are divided into four sections: Morning, Afternoon, Evening, and Night. It is in these sonnets that portrays how passionately and maturely Pablo loved Matilde; so much so that it really seems like Matilde is the only micro-universe the poet inhabits.

Here is one of my favorites, the famous Sonnet XVII.

I do not love as if you were a salt rose, a topaz
or an arrow of carnations that spread fire:
I love you like certain dark things are loved,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you like the plant that does not bloom
and carries in itself, hidden, the light of those flowers,
and thanks to your love,
the tight aroma that arose from the earth lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, nor when, nor from where,
I love you directly without problems or pride:
I love you this way because I know no other way to love,

only in this way in which I am not and you are not,
so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,
so close that your eyes close with my sleep.

I don’t want to sound like I’m writing a Latin American literature essay, so all I will say is that this poem is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Neruda. The sheer intensity of what he’s feeling comes through, and it just grips you and elevates you. My kind of high. It makes me feel like there is beautiful music, heavy, passionate drama, and poetry in living — so much so that it makes it difficult to feel indifferent, numb (which I’m sure are two words that don’t exist in Neruda’s vocabulary). Every time I read it, I catch my breath. Really . . . who wouldn’t want to be loved in this way?