So language has a power to wrap itself around the mind and change everything like a seductive force. Neruda's poetry intoxicates me as a reader. And what can be more cliche than poems about love? Nothing, nothing at all. But his masterful writing makes me mentally salivate. His poems are stainlessly logical expressions of emotions that convolute our ability to think clearly and it turns out beautifully anyway. Check this one, non-descriptly called 'Sonnet XVII':
I do not love you as if you were 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.
The first two stanza just stab at my heart with his green ink (he wrote in green ink). Why do you do this to me, Mr. N??? So I've had this draft partially started for a few months, never finished it. Yesterday news broke that several of Neruda's undiscovered poems were recently uncovered so I figured today would be a good time to post this little share of admiration for the man from Chile who wrote beautiful poems in Spanish that hold their beauty even through translation into English. Not only was he a poet but a politician, a fugitive, Nobel Prize winner and a diplomat. And Pablo Neruda isn't even his real name...he is at the very least interesting aside from being talented. If you still need convincing, here is another of my favorites. He spent some time in Burma and wrote this about religion (which I agree with):
Religion in the East
There in Rangoon I realized that the gods
were enemies, just like God,
of the poor human being.
in alabaster extended
like white whales,
gods gilded like spikes,
serpent gods entwining
the crime of being born,
naked and elegant buddhas
smiling at the cocktail party
of empty eternity
like Christ on his horrible cross,
all of them capable of anything,
of imposing on us their heaven,
all with torture or pistol
to purchase piety or burn our blood,
fierce gods made by men
to conceal their cowardice,
and there it was all like that,
the whole earth reeking of heaven,
and heavenly merchandise.
He's irresistible, no?