I have decided that I am going to start posting an occasional favorite poem on my blog. I used to write my own poetry, "back in the day," as my students say. While I was never on the same level as my favorite poets by any means, I could write a decent line or two once in a while. However, it seems my muse has gone into permanent hibernation. The reason? I'm happy. I have always believed that most great art has to come from sorrow, despair, addiction, mental illness, or some other driving influence. When the artist/author/composer is content, the art suffers. When I was searching for meaning in my life, when I was heartbroken, when I felt my life was incomplete, I could write halfway decent poetry. Now, I couldn't do it if my life depended on it.
I could care less. Let the muse sleep the rest of my days. I'll revel in other people's words, and be content with my new life. It's more than a fair trade, to be sure.
XVII (I do not love you...)
by Pablo Neruda
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.
Translated by Stephen Tapscott