Body of a woman, white hills, white thighs,
when you surrender, you stretch out like the world.
My body, savage and peasant, undermines you
and makes a son leap in the bottom of the earth.
I was lonely as a tunnel. Birds flew from me.
And night invaded me with her powerful army.
To survive I forged you like a weapon,
like an arrow for my bow, or a stone for my sling.
But now the hour of revenge falls, and I love you.
Body of skin, of moss, of firm and thirsty milk!
And the cups of your breasts! And your eyes full of absence!
And the roses of your mound! And your voice slow and sad!
Body of my woman, I will live on through your marvelousness.
My thirst, my desire without end, my wavering road!
Dark river beds down which the eternal thirst is flowing,
and the fatigue is flowing, and the grief without shore.
“Body of a woman, white hills, white thighs” from Neruda & Vallejo: Selected Poems, by Pablo Neruda
“emerged from its secret womb and flows, fertilizing and singing. It kindles with its swelling waters, it works at milling flour, tanning hides, cutting wood, giving light to cities. It is useful, and awakens to find banners along its banks: festivals are celebrated beside the singing water.” Pablo Neruda
“What we love is your peace, not your mask. / Your warrior’s face is not handsome.” Pablo Neruda
“LOVE Woman, I would have been your child, to drink the milk of your breasts as from a well, to see and feel you at my side and have you in your gold laughter and your crystal voice. To feel you in my veins like God in the rivers and adore you in the sorrowful bones of dust and lime, to watch you passing painlessly by to emerge in the stanza—cleansed of all evil. How I would love you, woman, how I would love you, love you as no one ever did! Die and still love you more. And still love you more and more. ILAN STAVANS” Pablo Neruda
“Body of woman, white hills, white thighs, you look like the world in your posture of surrender. My savage peasant body digs through you and makes the son leap from the depth of the earth. I went alone as a tunnel. Birds fled from me, and night invaded me with her powerful force. To survive myself I forged you like a weapon, like an arrow in my bow, like a stone in my sling. But the hour of vengeance falls, and I love you. Body of skin, of moss, of avid, steady milk. Ah the goblets of the breasts! Ah the eyes of absence! Ah the roses of the pubis! Ah your voice slow and sad! Body of my woman, I will persist in your grace. My thirst, my boundless yearning, my indecisive path! Dark riverbeds where eternal thirst follows, and fatigue follows, and infinite sorrow. MARK EISNER’ Pablo Neruda
“We have lost even this twilight. No one saw us this evening hand in hand while the blue night dropped on the world. I have seen from my window the fiesta of sunset in the distant mountaintops. Sometimes a piece of sun burned like a coin between my hands. I remembered you with my soul clenched in that sadness of mine that you know. Where were you then? Who else was there? Saying what? Why will the whole of love come on me suddenly when I am sad and feel you are far away? The book fell that is always turned to at twilight and my cape rolled like a hurt dog at my feet. Always, always you recede through the evenings towards where the twilight goes erasing statues. W. S. MERWIN” Pablo Neruda
“Tonight I can write the saddest lines. Write, for example, “The night is starry and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.” The night wind revolves in the sky and sings. Tonight I can write the saddest lines. I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too. Through nights like this one I held her in my arms. I kissed her again and again under the endless sky. She loved me, sometimes I loved her too. How could one not have loved her great still eyes. Tonight I can write the saddest lines. To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her. To hear the immense night, still more immense without her. And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture. What does it matter that my love could not keep her. The night is starry and she is not with me. This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance. My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her. My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer. My heart looks for her, and she is not with me. The same night whitening the same trees. We, of that time, are no longer the same. I no longer love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her. My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing. Another’s. She will be another’s. As she was before my kisses. Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes. I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her. Love is so short, forgetting is so long. Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her. Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer and these the last verses that I write for her. W. S. MERWIN” Pablo Neruda