On Valentine’s Day, we must all read Pablo Neruda. I’m pretty sure it’s the law.

Happy Valentine’s Day, my darlings. I hope it is full of love poems and kisses. And, really, more kisses than poems, because even though poems are wonderful and all, kisses are, admittedly, slightly better.

Anyway, there is no one who does love poetry and the language of longing and tenderness and desire like Neruda. So here he is – from me to you. With imaginary kisses.

I Do Not Love You

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.

Translated by Stephen Tapscott


And if you’re in the mood for a good cry, you can watch Alan Rickman and Juliet Stevenson read “La Muerta” in both English and Spanish in this clip from “Truly, Madly, Deeply”. That movie, man. It destroys me.


3 thoughts on “On Valentine’s Day, we must all read Pablo Neruda. I’m pretty sure it’s the law.

  1. Yes!
    Tell me you’ve seen “Il Postino” or I shall weep. Hands down, Neruda is my favorite poet. I obsessively read him when I was single. Now I read him in the lines on my wife’s face when she smiles. His poems, those lines…they are the same.

    Thank you for the wonderful reminder.

  2. So, it’s Karma or Kizmet (I don’t remember the difference) but I just received Il Postino as a Valentine’s Day gift to myself, and I agree! love, auntie M

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