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The Sea and the Bells

4.36  ·  Rating Details  ·  296 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
The sound of ships' bells, sea waves, and migratory birds fuel Neruda's longing to retreat from life's noisy busyness. Stripped to essentials, these poems are some of the last Neruda ever wrote, as he pulled "one dream out of another." Includes the final lovesong to his wife, written in the past tense: "It was beautiful to live / When you lived!" Bilingual with introductio ...more
Paperback, 124 pages
Published January 1st 2002 by Copper Canyon Press (first published 1973)
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Lettie Prell
Jan 31, 2010 Lettie Prell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
A friend of mine who died of AIDS before the best drugs had been developed used to spend weeks at a time in a small town in Mexico. He would sit in the plaza and write poetry in English and Spanish. Before he became too sick, he made a Mexican meal for a group of us friends. I especially remember the tamales wrapped in corn husk, and the flan. After he died, I at times eat tamales, or flan, in his memory. I also read Pablo Neruda out loud. Each poem is displayed with the original Spanish on one ...more
Billy O'Callaghan
One of Neruda's late books, 'The Sea and the Bells' is also one of his most magnificent, possessed as it is, in the face of an impending end, of wisdom and acceptance for a life lived, time passed, an understanding of the interconnection and the timelessness of precious moments.
The sea dominates these pages, its relentless tides and eternal quality, but also its loneliness. And in company, striking images of bells, shaping the waves, calling out, tolling, perhaps ringing life away.

Because it is
Imen Benyoub
Jan 28, 2016 Imen Benyoub rated it liked it
Shelves: pablo-neruda
It rains
over the sand, over the roof
the theme
of rhe rain :
the long Is of rain fall slowly
over the pages
of my everlasting love,
this salt of every day:
rain, return to your old nest,
return with your needles to the past:
today I long for the whitest space,
winter's whiteness for a branch
of green rosebush and golden roses:
something of infinite spring
that today was waiting, under a cloudless sky
and whiteness was waiting,
when the rain returned
to sadly drum
a gainst the window,
then to dance with unmeasured
Apr 01, 2015 metaphor rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, pablo-neruda
monotonous is my song,
my word is a shadow bird,
fauna of stone and sea, the grief
or a winter planet, incorruptible.
Forgive me this sequence of water,
of rock, of foam, of the tide’s
delirium: this is my loneliness:
salt in sudden leaps against the walls
of my secret being, in such a way
that I am a part
of winter,
of the same flat expanse that repeats from bell to bell, in wave after wave,
and from a silence like a woman’s hair, a silence of seaweed, a sunken song.
Apr 23, 2008 Erica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Erica by: It was sitting on Hal's and Teresa's toilet
These poems make me fall in love with the world over and over again.
Dec 23, 2015 David rated it it was amazing
Wow what a gem. I picked this book up on vacation from a tiny book store on one of tje islands in Puget Sound and loved every page. Part of eight books of poems that Neruda wrote for his 70th birthday (and died just before) this book reflects upon his life, his love of his wife Matilde and life on Isla Negra. They are short concise and very melodic. I am learning spanish and this bilingual edition adds to my growing vocabulary. Read the Spanish aloud first, even if you don't know the language to ...more
You,  Disloyal Bastard
La poesía de Neruda siempre es hermosa, fluida y de una rima constante; aunque sus versos no formen coherencia alguna.

La recopilación que elegí pensé que sería la receta para el éxito, pero me dejó esperando mucho de la misma. El Pablo que buscaba estaba ahí, sin embargo, creo que fue la espontaneidad de los poemas que resultó no ser de mi total agrado esta pieza.
Bruno Coriolano
Oct 01, 2015 Bruno Coriolano rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely brilliant! I loved each and every poem here!
Mar 24, 2013 Kirk rated it liked it
I was led to this book by the music group Rachel's and their eponymous album inspired by Neruda. The liner notes have a few excerpts of poetry, presumably all from Neruda. I'd also thought that all of the excerpts were from this book, but I wasn't able to find one that starts off with

When I see you again
I will be a changed man
I'll have long put aside those things that hid me from you

Thanks in advance to anyone who can point me in the direction of the book containing this poem.
Sep 17, 2013 Jack rated it really liked it
Almost all of Neruda's work I had previously read was from his younger years; this was written and compiled in his last year of life. I was moved by how laid bare the writing had become, the intimate description of what was then most important to him. So little ego, so much contemplative appreciation. This little number sure struck a chord:

With my hands I must
beckon: somebody please come.
Here is what I have and what I owe,
please listen to the count, the story, and the sound.
Eline (plutomeisje)
Jan 04, 2016 Eline (plutomeisje) rated it really liked it
4/5 - Ik lees normaal nooit poëzie, dus ik heb niet echt iets om dit boek met te vergelijken, dus hoeveel die vier sterren echt waard zijn, dat laat ik aan u. Ik kan alleen zeggen dat ik het verrassend aangenaam vond om de gedichten van Neruda te lezen. Dat ik hele zinnen en hele gedichten wou blijven herlezen omdat ze zo mooi waren en omdat ik ze in mijn grijze massa wou graveren (niet dat mij dat gelukt is). En dat ik wellicht nog wel naar poëzie ga grijpen. :)
Nov 01, 2008 Joe rated it liked it
I recommend that you immerse yourself in the music of Rachels, a chamber orchestra who used this book of poetry for their own concept album, The Sea and the Bells, after Naruda's book. My Favorite poem from the book is "Pedro is the how and the when..." some of the titles of the poems are simply the first lines as they remained untiled as he died. Published posthumously.
Nov 08, 2012 Arlo rated it liked it
Shelves: poems
One of eight books of poetry he was writing the last year of his life. The Sea and The Bells deals a lot with isolation and using nature(the sea) and the bells to reflect the isolation and being part of nature. Most are untitled and he uses a more minimalist style than his other Poems I have read. Which tend to use extremely lavish language.
Mar 12, 2011 Deb rated it it was amazing
I have had the pleasure of visiting Neruda's house, now a museum, at Isla Negra in Chile. The house looks out toward the sea with a replica of a sailboat and a large ship's bell standing between his window and his view of the rocky shore and the sea. This book captures his love of the sea perfectly.
Aug 20, 2008 George.kemi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best collections of poetry I have read. My introduction to Neruda, which I liked a lot more than the Captain's Songs. A LOT more. More reflective and interested in questions about self, nature, country and so on - broader themes, more bittersweet than the Captain's Verses.
Jul 25, 2008 Shaindel marked it as to-read
I interviewed William O'Daly, the translator, on The Moe Green Poetry Hour, and will be interviewing him as a guest on my own show, Translated By.

Jul 20, 2011 Micah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
There is a peculiar, melancholy joy to many of these poems that feels as if it can only come from knowing you are soon to leave the world that you love fiercely. This book is mortal and beautiful and heartbreaking, and it's everything that poetry ought to be.
Jun 04, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
I adore Neruda and this volume is my favorite. The poem The Sea and the Bells is my favorite. Short and absolutely sublime. The Spanish is on the opposite page and that's a nice addition to the book as well.
Mar 21, 2014 Heather rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I wish I could begin each day by reading this book. One of the shorter poems:


I came here to count the bells
that live upon the surface of the sea,
that sound over the sea,
within the sea.

So, here I live.

Nov 14, 2007 Meg rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Neruda fans who want something besides romance
This selection of poems, written late in Neruda's life, is written in the most beautiful, simple language, reflecting on the poet's desire for, and conversation with, solitude.
Jun 22, 2009 Margot rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This was his last work, written when he knew he was dying.
It calls to be read again and again. I want to read more
of his work, although not his political writings.
Betty Generic
Mar 22, 2013 Betty Generic rated it it was amazing
This is one of those beautiful books that make you give it a little hug at the end of every page. A love song to a beautiful life. A must read for everyone.
May 17, 2008 Alison rated it it was amazing
Shelves: must-read
lost in the senses. totally captivating. romantic. lost in beautiful images. it's like cool rain falling on waves of a distant, grey, hazy ocean.
Aug 13, 2011 Angela rated it really liked it
Later the color blue invaded the sky
until everything filled with blue
because that is every day's task
the blue bread of every day.
Aug 20, 2011 Katia rated it it was amazing
Enjoying that this book has Spanish and English versions of the poetry
Jan 15, 2012 Catherine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Beautiful and tender
Cassie Fleurs
Cassie Fleurs marked it as to-read
Apr 30, 2016
Katya rated it really liked it
Apr 30, 2016
Tomo marked it as to-read
Apr 29, 2016
Denisia Susanu
Denisia Susanu marked it as to-read
Apr 24, 2016
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Pablo Neruda was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean writer and politician Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. Neruda assumed his pen name as a teenager, partly because it was in vogue, partly to hide his poetry from his father, a rigid man who wanted his son to have a "practical" occupation. Neruda's pen name was derived from Czech writer and poet Jan Neruda; Pablo is thought to be fro ...more
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“The whole human earth was bleeding.
Time, buildings, routes, rain,
erase the constellation of the crime,
the fact is, this small planet
has been covered a thousand times by blood,
war or vengeance, ambush or battle,
people fell, they were devoured,
and later oblivion wiped clean
each square meter: sometimes
a vague, dishonest monument,
other times a clause in bronze,
and still later, conversations, births,
townships, and then oblivion.
What arts we have for extermination
and what science to obliterate memory!
What was bloody is covered with flowers.
Once more, young men, ready yourselves
for another chance to kill, to die again,
and to scatter flowers over the blood.”
More quotes…