I never liked poetry. Ever. I thought it boring and aloof. Poetry was something that just took too much work to understand. I hated writing poetry too. I thought I had to become some stuffy-analogy-hungry writer (I’m sure I’m offending so many people right now). This was until I took a 20th century literature class my third year of college. I felt inspired, and even moved by how these 20th century poets, defied the “norms” in poetry, and forever changed the way we write and read poetry. Even more exciting, was discovering twentieth century poets and authors from South America. I know that I’m going on and on, when all I REALLY want to do is share my favorite poem. But I just have to tell the story and the boring details leading up to it (so be patient, I’ll get there!). We had to pick a poem, by any author and write a paper about a poem. I had never written a paper with a source containing so little content! And this was when, I discovered (or my professor revealed to me) Pablo Neruda. Saying his name (even if it’s in my head) stills my heart and causes me to take a deep breath. And this was the poem I chose, my first favorite poem:
Sonnet XVII: I do not love you as if you were brine-rose, topaz
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.
I love the darkness of his love, the inmost feeling that cannot be seen with bright colors or flowers or even described but only felt. I have nothing more to say so I will leave you with my favorite stanza, the one I keep reading over and over