~ ~ ~Night : XC I dreamed that I died: that I felt the cold close to me;
and all that was left of my life was contained in your presence:
your mouth was the daylight and dark of my world,
your skin, the republic I shaped for myself with my kisses.
Straightway, the books of the world were all ended,
all friendships, all treasures restlessly cramming the vaults,
the diaphanous house that we built for a lifetime together–
all ceased to exist, till nothing remained but your eyes.
So long as we live, or as long as a lifetime’s vexation,
love is a breaker thrown high on the breakers’ successions;
but when death in its time chooses to pummel the doors–
Ay! there is only your face to fill up the vacancy,
only your clarity pressing back on the whole of non-being,
only your love, where the dark of the world closes in.
*from A Hundred Love Sonnets (1960), translation by Ben Belitt.
~ ~ ~
This copy of Pablo Neruda’s Poems as translated by Ben Belitt was a gift (by demand) from a person I loved then — still do, in a different way. Can I thank you again, my dear, for this? And say that this was one of the best things you have given me? I miss you, and I cherish nothing but all the good things. How very far apart we are now, yet how very near still, –or I’d like to think so, for to think that we are broken off so completely, with nothing, –nothing! –as if we’ve never been, is so hard to swallow.
I love Neruda. It’s hard to just have one favorite, but if I were under torture and were made to choose, then I think he is my one favorite among the many favorites, and has the most influence on me. When you think of Neruda, you think of the moon shining across the dark sea, you think of the cold breeze enclosing your shoulders, and love, and beautiful melancholy. Mmm…