Guest poem sent in by atheos
(Poem #1157) Love Sonnet XI
I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair. Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets. Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps. I hunger for your sleek laugh, your hands the color of a savage harvest, hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails, I want to eat your skin like a whole almond. I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body, the sovereign nose of your arrogant face, I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes, and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight, hunting for you, for your hot heart, like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.
This is the first thing that comes to mind when I think Neruda. I read it quite a while back but it has stayed with me... The sheer intensity of what he's feeling comes through, and grips you and elevates you. It makes me feel like there is music and drama and poetry in living, that makes it hard to feel indifferent, numb. Every time I read it, I catch my breath; I am swept up by it all over again. If I were to analyse it tongue in cheek, I would say it should be titled My Love to Me a Meal Is. And proceed to demonstrate how he's sublimating his passion by using verbs of the culinary persuasion. Grin. Alternatively, I could choose to take him literally, and proceed to demonstrate that this is Dr. Hannibal Lecter, who's taken over Neruda's life. After eating him, of course. More seriously, though, I think it's a beautiful poem. There are references to him as a hunter - I think of a large, beautiful jungle cat padding around on empty, cobbled streets. I can see the twitch of its tail and the flare of nostrils. Hungry. Hunting. His (the translator's?) turn of phrase is lovely; "Bread does not nourish me" "the liquid measure of your steps" "for your hot heart" - all these sound so right that the rightness, the resonance of the words leaves you dazed. I think it's a good counterpoint to the other poem we saw a few days back [Poem #1149], don't you? atheos