Around the age of 19, I was introduced to the writings of Pablo Neruda, and to this day, he remains one of my favorite poets of all time. There was something about that time in my life and his passionate writing style that had me hooked. I was longing for love and passion and as I read his poems I would think about all that was possible. Would I ever fall in love? Would anyone ever feel those things for me that Pablo Neruda wrote about? I think his writings shaped the way I viewed love and relationships – I’m not sure if that was good or bad. His words were so powerful, maybe I was setting myself up for disappointment since most men in their early 20’s didn’t express themselves like that.

I got up early this morning and browsed through our bookshelves. I pulled out my Neruda books and flipped through them – paying close attention to the pages that were still earmarked as my favorites:

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.

Another favorite (not in its entirety):

In short, without your presences: without your coming
suddenly, incitingly, to know my life,
gust of rosebush, wheat of wind:

since then I am because you are,
since then you are, I am, we are,
and through your love I will be, you will be, we’ll be.

And finally, the one I read most often (again, not in its entirety):

My words rained over you, stroking you.

A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body.
I go so far as to think you own the universe.
I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells,
dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.

I want

to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.

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