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“Amor” from new Neruda book “Intimacies”; paintings by Mary Heebner

May 9, 2011

Yesterday for Mother’s Day, at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, I bought myself a book of Pablo Neruda poetry titled Intimacies: Poetry of Love translated by Alastair Reed and with rich earthen paintings of the body by Mary Heebner.

I read many of these poems aloud on our drive home (putting my son right to sleep but entertaining my husband!) A few years ago, also for Mother’s Day, I bought their previous collaboration which focuses on poetry of the sea with oceanic inspired paintings in blues and greens.

Tonight I am meeting with friends who are getting married on Saturday; I’ll be officiating their wedding. I’m going to share with them this book. In particular, I think they will like the following poem “Amor” or “Love” which ends the book.

Amor by Pablo Neruda

So many days, oh so many days
seeing you so tangible and so close,
how do I pay, with what do I pay?

The bloodthirsty spring
has awakened in the woods.
The foxes start from their earths,
the serpents drink the dew,
and I go with you in the leaves
between the pines and the silence,
asking myself how and when
I will have to pay for my luck.

Of everything I have seen,
it’s you I want to go on seeing:
of everything I’ve touched,
it’s your flesh I want to go on touching.
I love your orange laughter.
I am moved by the sight of you sleeping.

What am I to do, love, loved one?
I don’t know how others love
or how people loved in the past.
I live, watching you, loving you.
Being in love is my nature.

You please me more each afternoon.

Where is she? I keep on asking
if your eyes disappear.
How long she’s taking! I think, and I’m hurt.
I feel poor, foolish and sad,
and you arrive and you are lightning
glancing off the peach trees.

That’s why I love you and yet not why.
There are so many reasons, and yet so few,
for love has to be so,
involving and general,
particular and terrifying,
joyful and grieving,
flowering like the stars,
and measureless as a kiss.

That’s why I love you and yet not why.
There are so many reasons, and yet so few,
for love has to be so,
involving and general,
particular and terrifying,
joyful and grieving,
flowering like the stars,
and measureless as a kiss.
Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda was born in 1904 in Chile; he died in 1973. His honors include sharing the World Peace Prize in 1950 with Paul Robeson and Pablo Picasso and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971.

For more poetry and other news from my part of the world, please subscribe to this blog in the upper right hand corner! I’ve been posting a poem on Mondays since soon after I started blogging in November 2007.

Please check out  my new collection of 3:15 experiment poetry  Middle of the Night Poems from Daughter to Mother :: Mother to Son  from en theos press 2011. It’s available in paperback (also from Amazon) or as an ebook. Read sample poems here. Read a review by Robert Peake here.

For more poetry by bloggers from all over the world, catch the Monday Poetry Train!

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