In continuing my observance of National Poetry Month, I revisited some of my favorite poems by Neruda. He was a master of the love poem. I’d have fallen in love with Neruda if he’d written these poems to me. Guaranteed.
Neruda’s poems are beautiful in translation, but they’re so much better in the original Spanish. I don’t speak Spanish, anymore. I haven’t had someone to practice with in a long time. But I still read it pretty well and Neruda’s poems are so lovely.
I also have this wonderful edition of Neruda’s poems that prints the original text along with a really good translation. It really helped me to check my understanding. My favorite poem from this collection, however, is “Tu Risa.” I am posting the original text, alongside its translation.
Quítame el pan, si quieres,
No me quites la rosa,
Mi lucha es dura y vuelvo
Amor mío, en la hora
Junto al mar en otoño,
Ríete de la noche,
Take my bread, if you want,
Do not take away the rose,
My struggle is hard and I return
My love, in the
By the sea in autumn,
Laugh at night,
Very few stanzas in poetry touch me that way this opening does. Take away my bread and my breath, but do not take away your laughter. It’s so moving. It’s so lovely. It explains what love is like. It describes an attainable love that seems so unattainable and unachievable. It’s the stuff of fairy tales.
And it seems real, at the same time.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m making no sense at all. That’s okay, too. I still love this poem so, so much.
I hope it brings you as much joy to you as it does me.
The Plucky Reader