605 Readings


I can write the saddest things tonight.

For example: ‘The night has been smashed
and the stars left to shiver, far away, in the blue.’

The wind turns around in the night to confess.

I can write the saddest things tonight. 
I wanted her, and sometimes she wanted me.     

On nights like this I held her in my arms.
The times I kissed her under a certain sky .

She wanted me, and sometimes I wanted her too.   
Her eyes, fastening me. How to do anything but love her.    
So words catch on my heart. Dew gathers on grass. 
What it means that my love couldn’t keep her.      

The night is starry and she’s not with me.
That’s it. Someone far away is singing. Away.
I am restless in her distance. My eyes cast the line to draw her in    
and though my heart reaches for her, she’s not here. 
The same night; the same trees whitened.  
Who we were, then—we’re no longer the same.      

I don’t want her any more, of course. But how much I wanted her. 
My words, ransacking everything, even the wind, just to be heard by her.     

Another. There will be another. Just as before. 
Her voice. Her body, alight. Her endless eyes. 
I know I don’t want her now, but sometimes I do. 
It’s so short, this thing love, and forgetting is so long.

It’s nights like this that I had her in my arms
that  her absence seems to wrest my spirit from me. 
And even though this is the last loss she takes from me
though this, this is the last thing, I write her.       
Posted 12/12/13
A translation of "Poema 20" from Neruda's "Veinte poemas de amor y una cancion desesperada." The original is widely available and immediately recommended.
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