I do not love you as if you were a 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 planet 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 straighforwardly, without complex ties 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.
Pablo Neruda was a contemporary of Octavio Paz, one of my all time favorite poets. I never read any poetry of his that I loved, so I never paid him much mind… till I read this poem. I really have to be in the right mood for a poem to hit me the way I want it to. If I had to label that mood, I would call it sentimental. I think the reason I never liked Neruda’s poetry was because I never read his work while I was in the right mood. This Love Sonnet was my gateway into his work.