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Pablo Neruda is one of my favorite poets. He’s not from the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries, when man of my favorite poets write. Lord Byron. John Keats. Alexander Pope. William Wordsworth. Just to name a few examples.

Neruda was a Chilean diplomat who wrote an array of poetry in an array of styles. One of his contemporaries, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, said he’s “the greatest poet of the twentieth century in any language.” With him, I agree.

He writes with a passion and vitality read in rarity. He’s eloquent in his raw emotions, and he doesn’t shy from it. In all honesty, I believe he’s an underappreciated poet. Most poets are, as a generality, but he surpasses this stigma.

Let me share a few of Neruda’s poems and judge for yourself. Write your thoughts in the comments, please.

Always

I am not jealous

of what came before me.

Come with a man

on your shoulders,

come with a hundred men in your hair,

come with a thousand men between your breasts and your feet,

come like a river

full of drowned men

which flows down to the wild sea,

to the eternal surf, to Time!

Bring them all

to where I am waiting for you;

we shall always be alone,

we shall always be you and I

alone on earth

to start our life!

I Remember You As You Were 

I remember you as you were in the last autumn.

You were the grey beret and the still heart.

In your eyes the flames of the twilight fought on.

And the leaves fell in the water of your soul.

Clasping my arms like a climbing plant

 The leaves garnered your voice, that was slow and at peace.

Bonfire of awe in which my thirst was burning.

Sweet blue hyacinth twisted over my soul.

I feel your eyes traveling, and the autumn is far off:

Grey beret, voice of a bird, heart like a house

Towards which my deep longings migrated

And my kisses fell, happy as embers.

Sky from a ship. Field from the hills:

Your memory is made of light, of smoke, of a still pond!

Beyond your eyes, farther on, the evenings were blazing.

Dry autumn leaves revolved in your soul.

 

 

Entrance of the Rivers 

Beloved of the rivers, beset

By azure water and transparent drops,

Like a tree of veins your spectre

Of dark goddess biting apples:

And then awakening naked

To be tattooed by the rivers,

And in the wet heights your head

Filled the world with new dew.

Water rose to your waist,

You are made of wellsprings

And lakes shone on your forehead.

From your sources of density you drew

Water like vital tears

And hauled the riverbeds to the sand

Across the planetary night,

Crossing rough, dilated stone,

Breaking down on the way

All the salt of geology,

Cutting through forests of compact walls

Dislodging the muscles of quartz.

Lovely One 

Lovely one,

Just as on the cool stone

Of the spring, the water

Opens a wide flash of foam,

So is the smile of your face,

Lovely one.

Lovely one,

With delicate hands and slender feet

Like a silver pony,

Walking, flower of the world,

Thus I see you,

Lovely one.

Lovely one,

With a nest of copper entangled

On your head, a nest

The colour of dark honey

Where my heart burns and rests,

Lovely one.

Lovely one,

Your eyes are too big for your face,

Your eyes are too big for the earth.

There are countries, there are rivers,

In your eyes,

My country is your eyes,

I walk through them,

They light the world

Through which I walk,

Lovely one.

Lovely one,

Your breasts are like two loaves made

Of grainy earth and golden moon,

Lovely one.

Lovely one,

Your waist,

My arm shaped it like a river when

It flowed a thousand years through your sweet body,

Lovely one.

Lovely one,

There is nothing like your hips,

Perhaps earth has

In some hidden place

The curve and the fragrance of your body,

Perhaps in some place,

Lovely one.

Lovely one, my lovely one,

Your voice, your skin, your nails,

Lovely one, my lovely one,

Your being, your light, your shadow,

Lovely one,

All that is mine, lovely one,

All that is mine, my dear,

When you walk or rest,

When you sing or sleep,

When you suffer or dream,

Always,

When you are near or far,

Always,

You are mine, my lovely one,

Always.

A Song of Despair 

The memory of you emerges from the night around me.

The river mingles its stubborn lament with the sea.

Deserted like the wharves at dawn.

It is the hour of departure, oh deserted one!

Cold flower heads are raining over my heart.

Oh pit of debris, fierce cave of the shipwrecked.

In you the wars and the flights accumulated.

From you the wings of the song birds rose.

You swallowed everything, like distance.

Like the sea, like time. In you everything sank!

It was the happy hour of assault and the kiss.

The hour of the spell that blazed like a lighthouse.

Pilot’s dread, fury of a blind diver,

turbulent drunkenness of love, in you everything sank!

In the childhood of mist my soul, winged and wounded.

Lost discoverer, in you everything sank!

You girdled sorrow, you clung to desire,

sadness stunned you, in you everything sank!

I made the wall of shadow draw back,

beyond desire and act, I walked on.

Oh flesh, my own flesh, woman whom I loved and lost,

I summon you in the moist hour, I raise my song to you.

Like a jar you housed the infinite tenderness,

and the infinite oblivion shattered you like a jar.

There was the black solitude of the islands,

and there, woman of love, your arms took me in.

There were thirst and hunger, and you were the fruit.

There were grief and the ruins, and you were the miracle.

Ah woman, I do not know how you could contain me

in the earth of your soul, in the cross of your arms!

How terrible and brief was my desire of you!

How difficult and drunken, how tensed and avid.

Cemetery of kisses, there is still fire in your tombs,

still the fruited boughs burn, pecked at by birds.

Oh the bitten mouth, oh the kissed limbs,

oh the hungering teeth, oh the entwined bodies.

Oh the mad coupling of hope and force

in which we merged and despaired.

And the tenderness, light as water and as flour.

And the word scarcely begun on the lips.

This was my destiny and in it was the voyage of my longing,

and in it my longing fell, in you everything sank!

Oh pit of debris, everything fell into you,

what sorrow did you not express, in what sorrow are you not drowned!

From billow to billow you still called and sang.

Standing like a sailor in the prow of a vessel.

You still flowered in songs, you still broke in currents.

Oh pit of debris, open and bitter well.

Pale blind diver, luckless slinger,

lost discoverer, in you everything sank!

It is the hour of departure, the hard cold hour

which the night fastens to all the timetables.

The rustling belt of the sea girdles the shore.

Cold stars heave up, black birds migrate.

Deserted like the wharves at dawn.

Only the tremulous shadow twists in my hands.

Oh farther than everything. Oh farther than everything.

It is the hour of departure. Oh abandoned one.

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