Neruda's heart resonates with strange old rhythms as he liberates his imagination from traditional expressions of devotion and takes it to undiscovered dimensions in paying homage to the act called "love". It is not merely emotion that he speaks of but the act, an act which is divine and sublime in all forms:
"Body of a woman, white hills, white thighs,
you look like a world, lying in surrender.
My rough peasant's body digs into you
and makes the sun leap from the depth of the earth"
Memory is what is left when the great catastrophe has run its course. But the memory is hazy and nebulous or just some empty space:
" Sky from a ship, Field from the hills:
Your memory is made of light, of smoke, of a still pond!"
Neruda loses hope as quickly as he builds it up:
" Leaning into the afternoons I cast my sad nets
towards your oceanic eyes.
There in the highest blaze my solitude lengthens and flames,
its arms turning like a drowning man's."
How do you pay homage to a beloved? These are Neruda's ways:
" You have deep eyes in which the night flails.
Cool arms of flowers and a lap of rose.
Your breasts seem like white snails.
A butterfly of shadow has come to sleep in your belly."
Here is another evening wasted as the lover recedes with the twilight:
" We have lost even this twilight.
No one saw us this evening hand in hand
while the blue night dropped out of the world.
I have seen from my window
the fiesta of sunset in the distant mountain tops."
Such eager anticipation for arrival of the lover:
" In you is the illusion of each day.
You arrive like the dew to the cupped flowers.
You undermine the horizon with your absence."
And then Neruda liberates love from the bounds of this planet and elevates it to cosmic levels casting himself as a god capable of miracles in pursuit of love :
" You are like nobody since I love you.
Let me spread you out among the yellow garlands.
Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of
Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed."
And the more sublime desire for the lover to be still for that would cure him of his grief:
" I like for you to be still: it is though you were absent,
distant and full of sorrow as though you had died.
One word then, one smile, is enough.
And I am happy, happy that it's not true."
Here is just some splendid poetry with Neruda openly expressing his desires. There is no equivocation, ambiguity or even a hint of subtlety in this:
"Here I love you.
In the dark pines the wind disentangles itself.
The moon glows like phosphorus on the vagrant waters.
Days, all one kind, go chasing each other.
The snow unfurls in dancing figures.
A silver gull slips down from the west.
Sometimes a sail. High, high stars.
Oh the black cross of a ship.
Sometimes I get up early and my soul is wet.
Far away the sea sounds and resounds.
This is a port.
Here I love you.
Here I love you and the horizon hides you in vain.
I love you still among these cold things.
Sometimes my kisses go on those heavy vessels
that cross the sea towards no arrival.
I see myself forgotten like those old anchors.
The piers sadden when the afternoon moors there.
My life grows tired, hungry to no purpose.
I love what I do not have. You are so far.
My loathing wrestles with the slow twilights.
But night comes on and starts to sing to me.
The moon turns its clockwork dream.
The biggest stars look at me with your eyes.
And as I love you, the pines in the wind
want to sing your name with their leaves of wire."