Pablo Neruda. Sonnet 17 from Neruda’s 100 Love Sonnets

Forget politics for a moment. Let’s lighten it up for a brief moment…

The low slant of  early evening sunbeams twinkle through the imagined galaxies of dust motes dancing in the air of my bedroom. Why, I do not know, this brings to mind this sonnet written by Pablo Neruda. A poem of such  quiet,unfettered passion and naked emotion that to this day, It prompts a swell of emotion within, everytime I read it.

 Ah, to be loved like this…

I don ’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,      
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:         
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,  
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries    
the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,
and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose        
from the earth lives dimly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or   
         from where
I love you directly without problems or pride:   
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way
         to love,

except in this form in which I am not nor are you,
so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,
so close that your eyes close with my dreams.

—Translated and © Mark Eisner 2004, from City Lights’ The Essential Neruda

This entry was posted in Laila Yuile and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Pablo Neruda. Sonnet 17 from Neruda’s 100 Love Sonnets

  1. arielle81 says:


    I have never read this poem from Pablo Neruda before.
    Thank you.
    You might like another one of his poems, I think it is called Naked Body, or something like that. It’s very good. The last line is my favorite ,”Under your skin the moon is alive.” Check it out. :)

  2. wellcraftedtoo says:

    thank you for posting this!

  3. Great poem! But this translation is not very accurate. I recommend the one found in “The Essential Neruda.” Also, if you really like Neruda, check out Red Poppy at It’s a non-profit set up to create a documentary about Neruda, publish his biography, and, as in the case of “The Essential Neruda,” to translate his works into English. To see our blog on Neruda’s literary activism, go to

    • Laila says:

      Thank you, I did have a hard time finding the most accurate translation, but the version I found was the one most commonly used. I’ve changed the post to reflect the version you refer to !

      Thanks again, Katia.

  4. wellcraftedtoo says:

    I too really like The Essential Neruda (City Lights Publishing), and recommend to anyone interested in Neruda. Picked it up several years ago when in San Francisco I visited City LIghts Bookstore. What a great store–the entire second floor is devoted solely to poetry!–with such an intriguing history.

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