Sonnet 17
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Pablo Neruda is one of the greatest poets. I could only hope to write poetry as breath-taking as his.


Sonnet 17

"I do not love you as if you were salt-rose or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoot 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."

From "100 Love Sonnets Cien sonetos de amor"
Translated by Stephen Tapscott