The Mnemosyne Weekly: Poem Twelve


Pablo Neruda
Carnal apple, Woman filled, burning moon
XII From: Cien sonetos de amor
Translated by A. S. Kline

Neruda is my favorite poet, and this is one of my favorite poems by him. His gift for transformation and transcendence through metaphor is mind-boggling. Every line is a surprise, every image a delight, every phrase the birth of language.

If you’re not familiar with Neruda, he was a Chilean diplomat, a poet, a politician, and the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was an incredibly versatile poet, writing in an eclectic mishmash of styles and modes and of great variety in subject matter.

If you’re new to the blog, please check out the first Mnemosyne Post. And please keep suggesting titles! I always learn the most from the ones I would have never thought to select myself.

Have a great week, everyone! I hope you enjoy the poem!

Carnal apple, Woman filled, burning moon

Carnal apple, Woman filled, burning moon,
dark smell of seaweed, crush of mud and light,
what secret knowledge is clasped between your pillars?
What primal night does Man touch with his senses?

Ay, Love is a journey through waters and stars,
through suffocating air, sharp tempests of grain:
Love is a war of lightning,
and two bodies ruined by a single sweetness.

Kiss by kiss I cover your tiny infinity,
your margins, your rivers, your diminutive villages,
and a genital fire, transformed by delight,

slips through the narrow channels of blood
to precipitate a nocturnal carnation,
to be, and be nothing but light in the dark.

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