Statue on the Moselle
Metz 2009Alas, I'm no poet, and have nothing of my own to offer, so I must steal from someone else. It is spring, at least according to the calendar -- I jinxed myself with that last post and the creeping cold, driving rain, and wild winds have returned -- and thoughts turn to what else other than love? Who could be better than a Latin lover? And which Latin lover could be better than Pablo Neruda during the Matilde era?
Neruda's third and final wife, Matilde Urrutia, was his muse for his 100 Sonnets, and also the love poems in Captain's Verses, and Bacarole. When I read his sonnets for her, I can almost imagine that I am a woman who inspires and fosters greatness in the man she loves, that I am someone in whom someone else sees something so special that he is motivated just by her essence. In real life, though, I'm not muse material. I'm far too much of a cynic to inspire anyone to anything even resembling greatness!
Sonnet XVII from 100 Love Sonnets
I do not love you as if you were a 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.
My comprehension of the Spanish language is horrible, but if you read his original writing out loud, the words flow more lyrically than the English translation...
No te amo como si fueras rosa de sal, topacio
o flecha de claveles que propagan eñ fuego:
te amo como se aman ciertas cosas oscuras,
secretamente, entre la sombra y el alma.
Te amo como la planta que no florece y lleva
dentro de sí, escondida, la luz de aquellas flores,
y gracias a tu amor vive oscuro en mi cuerpo
el apretado aroma que ascendió de la tierra.
Te amo sin saber cómo, ni cuándo, ni de dónde,
te amo directamente sin problemas ni orgullo:
así te amo porque no sé amar de otra manera,
Sino así de este modo en que no soy ni eres,
tan cerca que tu mano sobre mi pecho es mía,
tan cerca que se cierran tus ojos con mi sueño.