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(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973 / Parral / Chile)

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Ode To A Naked Beauty

With chaste heart, and pure
eyes
I celebrate you, my beauty,
restraining my blood
so that the line
surges and follows
your contour,
and you bed yourself in my verse,
as in woodland, or wave-spume:
earth's perfume,
sea's music.

Nakedly beautiful,
whether it is your feet, arching
at a primal touch
of sound or breeze,
or your ears,
tiny spiral shells
from the splendour of America's oceans.
Your breasts also,
of equal fullness, overflowing
with the living light
and, yes,
winged
your eyelids of silken corn
that disclose
or enclose
the deep twin landscapes of your eyes.

The line of your back
separating you
falls away into paler regions
then surges
to the smooth hemispheres
of an apple,
and goes splitting
your loveliness
into two pillars
of burnt gold, pure alabaster,
to be lost in the twin clusters of your feet,
from which, once more, lifts and takes fire
the double tree of your symmetry:
flower of fire, open circle of candles,
swollen fruit raised
over the meeting of earth and ocean.

Your body - from what substances
agate, quartz, ears of wheat,
did it flow, was it gathered,
rising like bread
in the warmth,
and signalling hills
silvered,
valleys of a single petal, sweetnesses
of velvet depth,
until the pure, fine, form of woman
thickened
and rested there?

It is not so much light that falls
over the world
extended by your body
its suffocating snow,
as brightness, pouring itself out of you,
as if you were
burning inside.

Under your skin the moon is alive

Submitted: Monday, March 22, 2010


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Comments about this poem (Canto XII from The Heights of Macchu Picchu by Pablo Neruda )

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  • Nadja Sand (8/8/2012 11:17:00 AM)

    Simply sublime! But I like this translation of the end better: as if you were on fire from within, the moon lives in the lining of your skin.

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