You are like nobody since I love you

Because it is hot, spring day in sunny California, I give unto you a hot, beautiful spring love poem courtesy of Pablo Neruda, the Chilean master of the sensual verse (and of many poetic forms, like his playful odes which you should all explore).

I would point out my favorite lines, but I would simply end up recounting the entire poem. If you can understand Spanish, look up the original version, “Juegas Todos los Dias.” If ever a poem were to make me swoon, it would be this one.

“Every Day You Play”–Pablo Neruda, translated by W.S. Merwin

Every day you play with the light of the universe.
Subtle visitor, you arrive in the flower and the water.
You are more than this white head that I hold tightly
as a cluster of fruit, every day, between my hands.

You are like nobody since I love you.
Let me spread you out among yellow garlands.
Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south?
Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed.

Suddenly the wind howls and bangs at my shut window.
The sky is a net crammed with shadowy fish.
Here all the winds let go sooner or later, all of them.
The rain takes off her clothes.

The birds go by, fleeing.
The wind. The wind.
I can contend only against the power of men.
The storm whirls dark leaves
and turns loose all the boats that were moored last night to the sky.

You are here. Oh, you do not run away.
You will answer me to the last cry.
Cling to me as though you were frightened.
Even so, at one time a strange shadow ran through your eyes.

Now, now too, little one, you bring me honeysuckle,
and even your breasts smell of it.
While the sad wind goes slaughtering butterflies
I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth.

How you must have suffered getting accustomed to me,
my savage, solitary soul, my name that sends them all running.
So many times we have seen the morning star burn, kissing our eyes,
and over our heads the gray light unwind in turning fans.

My words rained over you, stroking you.
A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body.
I go so far as to think that you own the universe.
I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells,
dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.
I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.


3 thoughts on “You are like nobody since I love you

  1. I love Neruda as well, and I am sorry for nearly making you vomit yesterday. I won’t do it again. This is, after all, your blog, and I promise to echo everything you say from now on.

    I love Neruda as well. Another one of his I really, really love is this: It’s probably my favorite poem, like, ever.

    It’s very different from “Every Day You Play.” In some ways, “I Like For You to Be Still” is the polar opposite of “Every Day You Play.” The former is about absence while the latter is about omnipresence. In sum I think they add up to a more representative total of Neruda’s “vision of love” (sorry I just made up this nonsensical phrase) — a love that is always everywhere and nowhere at once.

    But doesn’t that sort of make sense? When you are in love, the vast majority of your psychic energy is spent when you are not in the presence of the beloved, when you are contemplating the person during his/her absence. Yet when you are with the person, time flies so quickly that it almost feels as if you are skimming the surface of the vast ocean of what it means to be with that person.

    Also, I really, really liked the “Indigo Bunting” poem you posted a few days ago. Together, all these love poems explain for me — in simple, unphilosophical language that I can understand — the idea that love is about both presence and absence, clinging and relinquishing, ritual and departure from ritual.

    Sometimes, when I think about my grandfather who passed away many years ago or the people I left behind in my journey through life, I almost feel as if they are far closer to me now than they ever were in life. Absurd, is it not?

  2. I too really really liked the Indigo Bunting poem you posted a couple days back. For some reason, I cannot relate to this poem so much.

    Perhaps it is because during my first job my boss never learned my name and instead called me “little one” the entire summer. That is not the actual reason.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s