Pablo Neruda

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

Sonnet XVII


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.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Sun Zoo (9/11/2012 5:34:00 PM)

    I love the last stanza, such a contrast to the rest of the poem (Report) Reply

  • Noel Mc Inerney (12/7/2009 7:33:00 AM)

    this is one of my favourite poems it is so sad so sincere i love the way he lists the ways he doesn't love her then says how close he feels to her (Report) Reply

  • Putul S (10/3/2009 1:19:00 AM)

    Aaaaahhh! ! Just brilliant...so much of emotions in such few words. (Report) Reply

  • Janine Cody (9/17/2009 2:36:00 PM)

    This is the one that we chose to have read at our wedding. I LOVE it - especially the last 2 lines and the line about the light of hidden flowers. I've been married 7 years now and looked it up while searching for a poem to help a friend's daughter with her homework. Feeling a little dreamy now. (Report) Reply

  • Mike Z (6/4/2009 8:12:00 PM)

    This and Robert Desnos' 'J'ai tant reves de toi' (I have dreamed of you so much)

    http: //www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/1339.html

    always remind me of each other, even though they're not much alike. I guess it's the all-consuming passion elicited by both voices...... (Report) Reply

  • Original Unknown Girl (11/28/2007 5:37:00 AM)

    I adore this poem, it embodies all there is about deep, deep love.... and how we learn to accept it growing and living in us. Pablo has my heart when he writes like this. Fabulous! HG: -) xx (Report) Reply

  • daughter of a seafoam (9/15/2007 12:30:00 PM)

    May favorite of favorites... how sad.. yet romantic.. The love that is not tangible yet felt, beautiful.. the way he convey his love in its purest sense, full of hope, and strong...and in a unique love of his own terms, as he says 'I love you because there is no other way than this: where I does not exist, nor you, ' which binds them together. (Report) Reply

  • Kerri Mckeand (1/14/2007 6:21:00 PM)

    neruda is dead, so no poems. the translation of this sonnet is brutal! ! ! it's awful and very unpoetic. stephen mitchell's translation is the best and maintains formal integrity. check that translation if you're interested. (Report) Reply

  • john tiong chunghoo (7/4/2006 7:54:00 AM)

    i now understand all your sad poems. you lost a part of yourself when you lost your love and that's reall painful. having to live all alone to experience the pain. that is even worse. love thsi poem pablo. give us more. (Report) Reply

  • Cory Arocha (10/31/2005 11:27:00 AM)

    I love how deep this poem is. I like how Neruda uses the last stanza to express how their love is, instead of plainly sayin 'we are together as one'. I just really like all of Neruda's work. (Report) Reply

  • Soraya Silva (9/25/2005 4:35:00 PM)

    It truely discribe the kind of love that many people look for... one that in an instant two people become one under the same feeling of love. It makes me look foward to loving someone (Report) Reply

  • Lara W.a (7/13/2005 7:43:00 AM)

    lurve this! reminds me of that love felt between a nightingale & a statue (the happy prince - oscar wilde) (Report) Reply

  • Gabriel Vanmason (2/21/2005 2:03:00 AM)

    Truly, one of the most beautiful poems ever written. This poem encompasses the meaning of true love, and what it should be! (Report) Reply

Read all 22 comments »

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