I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries
the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,
and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose
from the earth lives dimly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you directly without problems or pride:
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way
except in this form in which I am not nor are you,
so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,
so close that your eyes close with my dreams.
Cien Sonetos de Amor: XVII (No te amo como si fueras rosa)
No te amo como si fueras rosa de sal, topacio
o flecha de claveles que propagan el 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 como, 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.
Pablo Neruda, “One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII,” translated by Mark Eisner, from The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems, edited by Mark Eisner. Copyright © 2004 by Mark Eisner. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of City Lights Books, citylights.com.
I was forcing a wasp to the top of a window where there was some sky and there were tiger lilies outside just to love him or maybe only simply a kiss for he was hurrying home to fight a broom and I was trying to open a door with one hand while the other was swinging tomatoes, and you could even smell the corn for corn travels by wind and there was the first hint of cold and dark though it was nothing compared to what would come, and someone should mark the day, I think it was August 20th, and that should be the day of grief for grief begins then and the corn man starts to shiver and crows too and dogs who hate the wind though grief would come later and it was a relief to know I wasn't alone, but be as it may, since it was cold and dark I found myself singing the brilliant love songs of my other religion.
Copyright © 2012 by Gerald Stern. Used with permission of the author.