Thursday, February 14, 2013

"Sonnet XVII" by Pablo Neruda

Just wanted to share my favorite love poem with y'all. Pablo Neruda wrote this poem in Spanish for his wife, Matilde, as part of his Cien Sonetos de Amor (100 Love Sonnets).

I think this translation is absolutely breath-taking (the Spanish version is even better!). The thought of a love so intense that their individual selves no longer exist is intriguing, but also frightening.

What if one of them evolves in a certain way while the other remains stationary? It would be like conjoined twins who grow taller at a different rate; pain and suffering is bound to ensue.

Pablo was certainly not alone in feeling this way. I'm reminded of "The Golden Compass" by Philip Pulman, a book I read when I was a kid. In it, the main character says to her lover:

"We'll cling together so tight that nothing and no one'll ever tear is apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you...We'll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams...And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won't be able to take one, they'll have to take two, one of you and one of me."

It's a beautiful idea, to be sure. But is it possible? Is it healthy? Or does it only belong in fiction and poetry?

Love much,

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