Reading Pablo Neruda‘s Love Sonnets, and these plucked lines:
…love is a war of lights in the lightning flashes, two bodies blasted in a single burst of honey…
…The lunar markings, the pathways through the apple, are yours; naked, you are slender as the wheat…
…You are a little mare carved in black clay, a kiss dusky with pitch, beloved, a clay poppy, a pigeon of twilight that fluttered its way on the roads and followed us into childhood of want, with its tears….
…Death is the stone into which our oblivion hardens. I love you. I kiss happiness into your lips. Let us gather sticks for a fire. Let us kindle a fire on the mountains… (not sure I like the way the translator uses fire twice here…but still…it makes the cut)
I tried to pluck from these two sonnets, but they were unpluckably beautiful. Inviolable.
Whoever intends me harm, lets your blood, too:
the poisonous blow directed against me,
falling across my labors like a net,
darkens your wincing flesh in its corrosion.
Under a flowering moon, beloved,
may I never see the odium of others lining your forehead,
remote of forgotten rancors ravage your sleep with thier useless crown of knives:
I do not wish to see it.
Behind me as I move, the malevolent pass,
a grimacing horror copies my face if I laugh,
I sing among mockers and backbiters,
cursed by the covetous.
This is my life, my darling,
the cloud life has gathered me under,
the vacuous garment that limps at my heels as I go,
the scarecrow smiling his bloody smile among the crows.
And saving the best for last:
I dreamed that I died:
that I felt the cold close to me;
and all that was left of my life was contained in your presence:
your mouth was the daylight and dark of my world,
your skin, the republic I shaped for myself with my kisses.
Straightway, the books of the world were all ended,
all friendships, all treasures restlessly cramming into vaults,
the diaphanous house that we built for a lifetime together –
all ceased to exist, till nothing remained but your eyes.
So long as we live, or as long as a lifetime’s vexation,
love is a breaker thrown high on the breakers’ successions;
but when death in its time chooses to pummel the doors –
Ay! there is only your face to fill up the vacancy,
only your clarity pressing back on the whole of non-being,
only your love, where the dark of the world closes in.
From: Five Decades: Poems 1925-1970 Pablo Neruda A bi-lingual edition edited and translated form the Spanish by Ben Belitt. (Grove Press, 1974).