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Pablo Neruda

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

Tonight I Can Write


Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example, 'The night is starry
and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.'

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is starry and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another's. She will be another's. As she was before my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.


translated by W.S. Merwin

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Muhammad Huzaifa (1/30/2013 3:04:00 AM)

    Tonight I Can Write the penultimate poem in poetic sequence, expresses the pain, the speaker feels after losing his lover. The bitsweeter sentiment recalls their passionate relationship and his recognition that, love is so short, forgetting is so long (Report) Reply

  • Channy Lyne Wagsey (11/4/2009 4:08:00 AM)

    this poem is so heartfalling, it touched me, every figure is so meaningful, i never read any better poem than this....... (Report) Reply

  • Vidya M (6/14/2009 2:42:00 AM)

    Perhaps no other poem captures the sense of love, longingness and loss as beautifully as this one!
    There is a great universality in this poem, it says something that will always be relevant. (Report) Reply

  • Sue S. (2/17/2009 3:44:00 PM)

    How can anyone with a functioning brain cell score this poem at less than a 10? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • Arvind Parakkot (2/5/2005 6:08:00 AM)

    The poem is somehow able to convey so very plainly and yet so very strongly the feeling of loss. Wish I knew spanish and could hear this read by the poet himself. (Report) Reply

Read all 15 comments »

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