Today is the anniversary of Pablo Neruda’s birthday. He is most famous for his love poems but for me he was first and foremost an outstanding symbolist. It is astonishing how many great poets and writers were born under the sign of Cancer. I am working on a post about Kafka (born 3 July), who I worship obsessively, but Neruda has oftentimes given me a sense of rapture, especially if I realize they were originally written in Spanish, which to my ears is the most beautiful sounding language in the world (En el amor, como agua del mar te has desatado… – In love, you have loosened yourself like seawater). I appreciate also that his verses are so full of life and very earthy, fleshy and sensual. This is actually why I wanted to learn Spanish and tried it diligently for a few years, but sadly now a lot has been lost.
I have chosen some of his more beautiful verses:
Love is the mystery of water and the star.
…so I wait for you like a lonely house
till you will see me again and live in me.
Till then my windows ache.
Give me silence, water, hope
Give me struggle, iron, volcanoes.
Everything is ceremony in the wild garden of childhood.
Jozef Mehoffer, Strange Garden (a great Polish painter)
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.
So it does indeed.