Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sonnet LI (100 Love Sonnets) - Pablo Neruda

Given that this - and the earlier one - come from the "100 Love Sonnets" volume  (in Spanish - 1960), it's a good bet that, before this blog is done, there will be more here!  Neruda's love poetry was his most popular in South America, more so than his political ones.  These sonnets were dedicated to his third wife, Matilde Urrutia.  (He was sensitive enough to delay publication, so as to not hurt the feelings of the ex-wives.)  In the dedication, he called the verses "... little houses, so that your eyes, which I adore and sing to, might live in them".  Sigh...
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Sonnet LI
                                                                    transl. from Spanish by Stephen Tapscott

Your laugh: it reminds me of a tree
fissured by a lightning streak, by a silver bolt
that drops from the sky, splitting the poll,
slicing the tree with its sword.

A laugh like yours I love is born
only in the foliage and snow of the highlands,
the air’s laugh that bursts loose in those altitudes,
dearest: the Araucanian tradition.

O my mountain woman, my dear Chill√°n volcano,
slash your laughter through the shadows
the night, morning, honey of the noon:

birds of the foliage will leap in the air
when your laugh like an extravagant
light breaks through the tree of life.

Pablo Neruda

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