Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pablo Neruda – Here I Love You

From the number of hits on this site with search criteria relating to poetry by Pablo Neruda, it seems I am part of a large fan club for this Nobel prize winning poet. I have published blogs of 10 of his gems to date and have another 6 in draft - and every few weeks as I pick up one of the 6 books of his poetry in my collection, I find another one blog worthy.

Today's Neruda instalment is in my opinion, one of his best, right along side of the famous
"Tonight I can write the saddest lines". This is a quite a proclamation, those who know of Neruda understand that he received worldwide recognition as  one of the world's best  Spanish Poets and he published hundreds of  emotive poems written in a style incorporating very simple and beautiful images from nature in imaginative symbolic pairing with passionate and devotional and conflicted love themes.  The word conflicted is meant  to include those other things which involve love - argument and conflict that is inevitable when two people are joined closely, even inseparably and yet are two distinct persons, each with their own thoughts, feelings and convictions.

I may blog mostly about his romantic love poems but he did have a wealth of others - and some day I might tire of reading his "Songs of Despair" and  his Love Sonnets - but probably not anytime soon.  As proof that he is more than one dimensional I did blog about his other types of poetry and if you are fed up of poems about love or love lost go please feel free to hop over to that blog - which is about his Canto General epic and see how he writes about something other than love.  Canto General is an encyclopedic history of the Hispanic Americas - not a small topic.  I have not read the whole volume yet, just the one relating to Macchu Picchu.

As an FYI, soon am going to soon pull myself out of his love poems and depths of despair but first will curl up with another of Neruda's love poetry volumes - The Captain's Verses - which was published anonymously in 1952.  This volume was written in the early "illicit" years with his to be wife Matilde, and not published for some years in his own name in consideration for his wife at the time.  It is dedicated to the woman who became the love of his life.  So more sappy love poems... but very soon I will turn away from them, at least for a while - promise!

I know that he does have several volumes, "Residence on Earth", published in 1933 for one, which has a good number of poems about politics and speak about injustice, oppression, brutality, torture and assassinations and war. Eventually I will make my way to them. But not quite yet. :)

What I enjoy about Neruda's poetry is the imagery of nature and animals and the simple things which surrounded him and how  these well crafted descriptives trigger in me such a depth of feeling of sensuality, passion, devotion as well as sadness deep love lost brings. I read Neruda's poems and I am in my mind, back in the heights of a past passionate love or in the depths of despair and grief in the passing of a great love from my past. Well, maybe too, at present, I am using these fabulous love poems to remind myself what will be again be sometime in my future.  For one thing we all learn is that no matter how wonderful love lost is, there is always capacity to love again and with it a hope that the next time we have learned enough to choose wisely and nurture it as carefully as well tended campfire.  (Can you tell I was camping last weekend? LOL)

Have a read for yourself. Don't you think this is one of the best of his sad love Poems?

XVIII from 20 Love Poems and a Song of Despair

Here I love you.
In the dark pines the wind disentangles itself.
The moon glows like phosphorous on the vagrant waters.
Days, all one kind, go chasing each other.

The snow unfurls in dancing figures.
A silver gull slips down from the west.
Sometimes a sail. High, high stars.

Oh the black cross of a ship.
Sometimes I get up early and even my soul is wet.
Far away the sea sounds and resounds.
This is a port.
Here I love you.
Here I love you and the horizon hides you in vain.
I love you still among these cold things.
Sometimes my kisses go on those heavy vessels
that cross the sea towards no arrival.
I see myself forgotten like those old anchors.
The piers sadden when the afternoon moors there.
My life grows tired, hungry to no purpose.
I love what I do not have. You are so far.
My loathing wrestles with the slow twilights.
But night comes and starts to sing to me.

The Gazebo at the end of the Sea Wall

I find the poem exquisite. The language speaks to all my senses - "In the dark pines the wind disentangles itself" - can't you just picture the moon casting a glow on pine trees as the boughs are whipped by the wind against the backdrop of a glimmering lake? - Just the views I see at night as I sit at the end of the sea wall looking toward shore as darkness falls at my Collingwood Shangri-La ...

The images build one on another and it is not until the 3rd stanza that you realize "Alone. Sometimes I get up early and even my soul is wet."... Wow. "Far away... I love you still"... Expressing a a deep, deep love - but the beloved is far away and love is unrequited - so sad and the poem continues to describe feelings anyone who has seen the end of a great relationship knows all too well.

His  his final line hits home -  "But night comes and starts to sing to me". I am thinking that this ending is meant to symbolize the final conclusion we all get to inevitably in these circumstances (when "I Love What I do not have") - life moves on and the feelings of intense love - contained "on those heavy vessels that cross the sea" get smaller and smaller and finally disappear (like a ship on the horizon ).  This poem has reached perfection in the symbolism.
Georgian Bay from Scenic Caves Lookout

Oddly enough, I could not find in either a Spanish language or English language video recording of a recitation of this one, but I did find an Asian language one!  I apologize - not sure whether this is Chinese or Japanese.  Nice to see that Twenty Love Poems has a Asian translation which is popular - I wonder why the English language one is not sufficiently captivating to drive someone to record one?
I decided to insert this You Tube Video - there are some interesting images of Neruda you even if it is not in English.  

OK, so we are on the theme of love lost and it would just not be right if I did not accompany this wonderful poem with some equally great theme music with lyrics of the same ilk.    I couldn't choose between the two performers - Carley Simon has a special place in my heart - from way back when and Luciana Souza has an equal place in my heart from now.  I have blogged about her music before.  She also shares the stage with Neruda in a future blog I have in draft - she has set a number of his poems to music and has more than one CD with these songs.   I will let you be the judge of who delivers the better performance.  I have included the lyrics as they are very poetic and carry forward today's theme very capably.

When Your Lover Has Gone
by E. A. Swan

By E.A. Swan

For ages and ages
The poets and sages
Of love wond'rous love always sing
But ask any lover
And you'll soon discover
The heartaches that romance can bring.

When you're alone
Who cares for starlit skies
When you're alone
The magic moonlight dies
At break of dawn
There is no sunrise
When your lover has gone.

What lonely hours
The evening shadows bring
What lonely hours
With mem'ries lingering
Like faded flow'rs
Life can't mean anything
When your lover has gone.

What good is the scheming
The planning the dreaming
That comes with each new love affair
The love that you cherish
So often may perish
And leave you with castles in air.

When you’re alone...

If You have found this posting having googled "when your lover has gone"  because you are grieving a lost love - go here for tips on How to deal with Unrequited love. I would add Instruction #13: Don't read sad love poems or listen to sad love songs! LOL...

Last but not least: I know this is an awfully long blog about one poem and one song BUT: I promise onto less "touchy feely" and more here and now blogs coming at you at a greater frequency. I have a week's holiday in front of me to recharge batteries with and then a new job which won't be taking so many of my play hours away from me. I have dozens of blogs half drafted (my previous job did not leave me enough hours to polish - but I captured the essence of many blogs which I will shine up and publish in reasonably short order. I also have lots of things to blog about to recount my summer adventures and goings on... So stay tuned, I am back to a Tue/Thurs and a weekend blog schedule.

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