Monday, 3 October 2016

Poetry Reads: I Like You to be Still by Pablo Neruda


Sometimes, a book finds you. Like it wanted to be found.Pablo Neruda's second collection of poetry lay furtively read and untouched in my bookshelf for over a year. Yesterday night, as if in a haze I picked it up and discovered in euphoric shock what I had missed. Its like I were asleep in my waking hours and suddenly, blessedly discovered vision. For the wavering reader, it is probably better to read less then, but in intense, still fervour.

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair was published when Neruda was all of 19.The Chilean poet wrote in Spanish.I do not know to what degree the English translation mitigates/alters the original.An elusive scent emanates from the words. A rare, elevating feeling for a reader of poetry.

I Like For You To Be Still 
by Pablo Neruda

I like for you to be still
It is as though you are absent
And you hear me from far away
And my voice does not touch you
It seems as though your eyes had flown away
And it seems that a kiss had sealed your mouth
As all things are filled with my soul
You emerge from the things
Filled with my soul
You are like my soul
A butterfly of dream
And you are like the word: Melancholy

I like for you to be still
And you seem far away
It sounds as though you are lamenting
A butterfly cooing like a dove
And you hear me from far away
And my voice does not reach you
Let me come to be still in your silence
And let me talk to you with your silence
That is bright as a lamp
Simple, as a ring
You are like the night
With its stillness and constellations
Your silence is that of a star
As remote and candid

I like for you to be still
It is as though you are absent
Distant and full of sorrow
So you would've died
One word then, One smile is enough
And I'm happy;
Happy that it's not true


(Article by Snehith Kumbla)

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