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Long and lithe fingers,
comfort moulded into cones,
is where art kisses geometry
and meets one of its own.

Her hands are to touch
manicured and glazed,
you feel home and lost
a Pharaoh now, and next a waif

The nails, you find and wonder
filed for a student and trimmed.
Not a wisp of colour
bare as a bone, naked and skinned.

Snug in a life song,
a pallbearer of untold griefs,
they are a stark sight
of colourless coral reefs.  

On but a blue moon,
they’re a savoury rare,
when hungry eyes feast
on the riotous fair.

Why, one day, I ask thee?
She would smile and wouldn’t tell.
‘Never felt like’,
is her No Comment.
~
"The sea complains upon a thousand shores"

Yet, I miss your current

passing through me

infinitely I tread this water

in the hopes you will soon awaken

like new horizon

"my precious, the sea will never rest"

~
Inspired by the poem from John Edward Smallshaw:
https://hellopoetry.com/poem/4240302/coral-sea/
Michael R Burch Mar 2020
Love Sonnet XVII
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I do not love you like coral or topaz,
or the blazing hearth’s incandescent white flame:
I love you as obscure things are loved in the dark,
secretly, in shadows, unnamed.

I love you like shrubs that refuse to bloom
while pregnant with the radiance of mysterious flowers;
now thanks to your love an earthy fragrance
lives dimly in my body’s odors.

I love you without knowing how, when, why or where;
I love you forthrightly, without complications or care:
I love you this way because I know no other.

Here, where “I” no longer exists, nor “you” ...
so close that your hand on my chest is my own,
so close that your eyes close gently on my dreams.

Keywords/Tags: Neruda, translation, Spanish, love, sonnet, rose, topaz, coral, dark, shadow, obscure, secret, fragrance, hand, chest, eyes, close, dreams

More Pablo Neruda translations ...

You can crop all the flowers but you cannot detain spring.
―Pablo Neruda, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

While nothing can save us from death,
still love can redeem each breath.
―Pablo Neruda, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As if you were set on fire from within,
the moon whitens your skin.
—Pablo Neruda, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Please understand that when I awaken weeping
it's because I dreamed I was a lost child
searching the leaf-heaps for your hands in the darkness.
―Pablo Neruda, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I’m no longer in love with her, that's certain ...
yet perhaps I love her still.
Love is so short, forgetting so long!
—Pablo Neruda, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



I love you only because I love you
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I love you only because I love you;
I am torn between loving and not loving you,
Between apathy and desire.
My heart vacillates between ice and fire.

I love you only because you’re the one I love;
I hate you deeply, but hatred
Bends me all the more toward you, so that the measure of my variableness
Is that I do not see you, but love you blindly.

Perhaps January’s frigid light will consume my heart with its cruel rays,
robbing me of any hope of peace.

In this tragic plot, I am the one who dies,
Love’s only victim,
And I will die of love because I love you,
Because I love you, my Love, in fire and blood.



Every Day You Play
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Every day you play with Infinity’s rays.
Exquisite visitor, you arrive with the flowers and the water.
You are vastly more than this immaculate head I clasp tightly
like a cornucopia, every day, between my hands ...



Love Sonnet XI
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
I stalk the streets, silent and starving.
Bread does not satisfy me; dawn does not divert me
from my relentless pursuit of your fluid spoor.

I long for your liquid laughter,
for your sunburned hands like savage harvests.
I lust for your fingernails' pale marbles.
I want to devour your ******* like almonds, whole.

I want to ingest the sunbeams singed by your beauty,
to eat the aquiline nose from your aloof face,
to lick your eyelashes' flickering shade.

I pursue you, snuffing the shadows,
seeking your heart's scorching heat
like a puma prowling the heights of Quitratue.



The Book of Questions
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Is the rose ****
or is that just how she dresses?

Why do trees conceal
their spectacular roots?

Who hears the confession
of the getaway car?

Is there anything sadder
than a train standing motionless in the rain?



In El Salvador, Death
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Death still surveils El Salvador.
The blood of murdered peasants has never clotted;
time cannot congeal it,
nor does the rain erase it from the roads.
Fifteen thousand were machine-gunned dead
by Martinez, the murderer.
To this day the coppery taste of blood still flavors
the land, bread and wine of El Salvador.



If You Forget Me
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I need you to know one thing ...
You know
how it goes:
if I gaze up at the glowing moon,
if observe the blazing autumn’s reddening branches from my window,
if I touch the impalpable ash of the charred log’s wrinkled body ...
everything returns me to you,
as if everything that exists
―all aromas, sights, solids―
were small boats
sailing toward those isles of yours that await me.

However ...
if little by little you stop loving me
then I shall stop loving you, little by little.

And if you suddenly
forget me,
do not bother to investigate,
for I shall have immediately
forgotten you
also.

If you think my love strange and mad―
this whirlwind of streaming banners
gusting through me,
so that you elect to leave me at the shore
where my heart lacks roots,
just remember that, on that very day,
at that very hour,
I shall raise my arms
and my roots will sail off
to find some more favorable land.

But
if each day
and every hour,
you feel destined to be with me,
if you greet me with implacable sweetness,
and if each day
and every hour
flowers blossom on your lips to entice me, ...
then ah my love,
oh my only, my own,
all that fire will be reinfernoed in me
and nothing within me will be extinguished or forgotten;
my love will feed on your love, my beloved,
and as long as you live it will be me in your arms ...
as long as you never leave mine.



Sonnet XLV
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Don't wander far away, not even for a day, because―
how can I explain? A day is too long ...
and I’ll be waiting for you, like a man in an empty station
where the trains all stand motionless.

Don't leave me, my dear, not even for an hour, because―
then despair’s raindrops will all run blurrily together,
and the smoke that drifts lazily in search of a home
will descend hazily on me, suffocating my heart.

Darling, may your lovely silhouette never dissolve in the surf;
may your lashes never flutter at an indecipherable distance.
Please don't leave me for a second, my dearest,

because then you'll have gone far too far
and I'll wander aimlessly, amazed, asking all the earth:
Will she ever return? Will she spurn me, dying?



My Dog Died
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My dog died;
so I buried him in the backyard garden
next to some rusted machine.

One day I'll rejoin him, over there,
but for now he's gone
with his shaggy mane, his crude manners and his cold, clammy nose,
while I, the atheist who never believed
in any heaven for human beings,
now believe in a paradise I'm unfit to enter.

Yes, I somehow now believe in a heavenly kennel
where my dog awaits my arrival
wagging his tail in furious friendship!

But I'll not indulge in sadness here:
why bewail a companion
who was never servile?

His friendship was more like that of a porcupine
preserving its prickly autonomy.

His was the friendship of a distant star
with no more intimacy than true friendship called for
and no false demonstrations:
he never clambered over me
coating my clothes with mange;
he never assaulted my knee
like dogs obsessed with ***.

But he used to gaze up at me,
giving me the attention my ego demanded,
while helping this vainglorious man
understand my concerns were none of his.

Aye, and with those bright eyes so much purer than mine,
he'd gaze up at me
contentedly;
it was a look he reserved for me alone
all his entire sweet, gentle life,
always merely there, never troubling me,
never demanding anything.

Aye, and often I envied his energetic tail
as we strode the shores of Isla Negra together,
in winter weather, wild birds swarming skyward
as my golden-maned friend leapt about,
supercharged by the sea's electric surges,
sniffing away wildly, his tail held *****,
his face suffused with the salt spray.

Joy! Joy! Joy!
As only dogs experience joy
in the shameless exuberance
of their guiltless spirits.

Thus there are no sad good-byes
for my dog who died;
we never once lied to each other.

He died, he's gone, I buried him;
that's all there is to it.



Tonight I will write the saddest lines
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tonight I will write the saddest lines.
I will write, for example, “The night is less bright
and a few stars shiver in the distance
as I remember her unwarranted light ...”

Tonight I will write her the saddest lines:
that I loved her as she loved me too, sometimes,
all those long, lonely nights when I held her tight
and filled her ears with indecipherable rhymes ...

Then she loved me too, as I also loved her,
compelled by the spell of her enormous eyes.
Tonight I will write her the saddest lines
as I ponder love’s death and our mutual crimes.

Outside I hear night―silent, cold, dark, immense―
as these delicate words fall, useless as dew.
Oh, what does it matter that love came to naught
if love was false, or perhaps even true?

And yet I hear songs being sung in the distance.
How can I forget her, so soon since I lost her?
I seek to regain her, somehow bring her closer.
But my heart has been blinded; she will not appear!

Now moonlight and starlight whiten dark trees.
We also are ghosts, by love’s failing light.
My love has failed me, but how I once loved her!
My voice ... this cursed wind ... what use to recite?

Another’s. She will soon be another’s.
Her body, her voice, her infinite eyes.
I no longer love her! And why should I love her
when love is sad, short, mad, fickle, unwise?

Because of cold nights we clung through so closely,
I’m not satisfied to know she is gone.
And while I must end this hell I now suffer,
It’s sad to remember all love left undone.
Aaditya Mar 2019
Red
Your cherry coloured lips used to
bring the coral blush on my cheeks.
But now it boils my crimson within,
leaving my face all scarlet with rage.

You were the apple of my eye,
as precious as ruby to me.
But now, wine and water seem the same,
and jam never tastes as sweet.
What changed, dear Rose?
Why have you faded?
shamamama Jan 2019
"What's your birthstone?  
I don't know, Oh, I know--it's rock."

Black rocks baking in the sun
dot this beach
Like chocolate chips in the dough
They call to us
Come climb,
Come hop on us
Find treasures hidden behind and between
All our dark shadows,

Lying as still as stone
A large rock shape,
Oh, it's grayer
and duller,
and there's sand sprinkled on it,
And it's moving!
It's Living Rock,
The monk seal napping
from its morning meal.

Yes- we watch others walk right by him
caught in their words,
Unaware of the living amongst the rocks,
Living Rock doesn't care
His belly is full

Gray sleek shape
massaged by the wind
with feast in your belly,
So mighty tired!
You taste your sleep for days,
Clouds cover the day's starlight you seek,
Your body begs for light, and yet
Nobody can wake you from your slumber
Not even the high pitched voices
of children playing
nor the fishing lines in and out of the tide

What of your dreams
Oh Large Gray Rock
Do you dream of the ocean tossing
Fish  into your mouth?
Or of the warm sun coming
to bake your skin?

The salt water dances up your nostrils,
You lift your head in mild protest
Then let it rest on your
Ancient bed of coral and shell bones
My feet love to dig into your bed

No insomnia for you sea creatures,
Maybe I should count monk seals
Instead of sheep when I want to sleep,
Your body clock measures time
Not in days or hours
But in meals, in hunts
In fullness, in emptiness
Your sleep is well earned
My friend

We can learn from you.
You bask, dream,
Then awaken renewed
To taste your ocean again,
Rock, monk seal, ocean,  beach, renewal
faeri Dec 2018
I'm not a pretty sunset on the beach
With small waves and a spring breeze.
My waves are high
They rumble fiercely.
No coral reef but a bed of rocks that guards ***** and sea urchins.
But I'll still love you more than the waves will ever love the shore.
K Balachandran Nov 2018
Past coral garden,
Dive to the depth of blue night;
Blissful oblivion!
I
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