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Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  43,865 ratings  ·  1,929 reviews
When it appeared in 1924, this work launched into the international spotlight a young and unknown poet whose writings would ignite a generation. W. S. Merwin's incomparable translation faces the original Spanish text. Now in a black-spine Classics edition with an introduction by Cristina Garcia, this book stands as an essential collection that continues to inspire lovers a ...more
Paperback, 70 pages
Published December 26th 2006 by Penguin Classics (first published 1924)
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Adwitiya R Dixit The poem is a paraphrase of Tagore's poem 9 in his book The Garden; call it whatever you want, paraphrasing or plagiarism.
Matías Poem 16 was accused of plagiarism, but as Vichy put it, he is paraphrased.
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 ·  43,865 ratings  ·  1,929 reviews

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Mar 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Tonight I Can Write
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
Write, for example, "The night is starry
and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance."
The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.
Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.
She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.
Tonight I can write th
Jun 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011

1. I went to Pablo Neruda's house once. Well, I went to one of his houses. He had three of them. I was teaching English in Santiago, Chile at the time. I went to Neruda's house in Valparaiso, which is a beach town. Weirdly enough, I visited on my twentieth birthday, on a lark, because I just happened to be vacationing in a nearby cabin with my host family.
The thing that I remember about Pablo Neruda's house is that it's set back in a grove of dark pine trees and that ther
Steven Godin
Sensual poetic beauty, with a lingering sadness, this collection of poems written when Chilean Neruda was only 19 is a remarkable feat, but was not received well for the intense and sexual content, this time being 1924 I can understand why, however, there is no explicit text it's more to do with imagery using the surrounding environment, charting oceanic movements of passion along with the changing weather, to tell of youthful love. " I have gone marking the atlas of your body / with crosses of ...more
Aug 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I do not love you except because I love you;
I go from loving to not loving you,
From waiting to not waiting for you
My heart moves from cold to fire.

I love you only because it's you the one I love;
I hate you deeply, and hating you
Bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you
Is that I do not see you but love you blindly.

Maybe January light will consume
My heart with its cruel
Ray, stealing my key to true calm.

In this part of the story I am the one who
Dies, the only one, and I will die of l
Samra Yusuf
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fav
How beautifully fragile we are, that so many things take but a moment to alter who we are, for forever. We are all, just an unforeseen encounter, an unexpected phone call, a diagnosis, a newly found love, or a broken heart away from becoming a completely different person. Our hearts betray us to the places we never thought be visiting, our reasons fail us to the most uninvited chasms we surrender ourselves into, knowingly. Our souls ripped open and raw, our hearts on display, Love leaves vulnera ...more
Bill  Kerwin
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, spanish-lit

Stephen Dobyns, in his forward to this edition, tells of what occurred at a poetry event in Venezuela, sometime in the ‘60’s. After Chilean poet Pablo Neruda concluded his prepared reading, he opened himself up to requests. The first request, from a member of this audience of six hundred, was for poem #20 from this book (“Tonight I could write the saddest lines”). When Neruda apologized, saying he had neglected to bring that particular poem, “four hundred people stood up and recited the poem to
Tempting as it may appear to wrap the poetic pearls from this collection of Neruda’s heartbeats into a warm shawl of erotic wool, do resist it and pause.

These loquacious verses that assemble at the nape of a lover or ripple playfully across the soft mountains of a beloved’s waist, magnify when viewed through the dual lenses of night and water .
I have said that you sang in the wind
like pines and like masts.
Like them you are tall and taciturn,
and you are sad, all at once, like a voyage.

You ga
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her. Love is so short, forgetting is so long.
-Pablo Neruda

Neruda was accomplished in a variety of styles ranging from erotically charged love poems like his collection Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of Despair, surrealist poems, historical epics, and overtly political manifestos. Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair is an amazing collection of poetry. His words caress the senses; imagery so delicious and fulfilling you can not only see
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: verse, nobel, hispanic
[Note on edit: This is not a review. These are peals of pleasure of a man drunk on Neruda wine, blurting out extempore, when he finished reading this poetry collection]

Pablo Neruda – the name evokes romance and revolution in my consciousness, a riot of metaphors and action, a turbo charged celebration of love and beauty, a flood of high emotions that assails my senses and dulls them so that the only thing I am receptive to when I have Neruda’s verse before me is but his verse. Everything else bl
Feb 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I adore Neruda's poetry. The only reason that I am giving 4 stars and not 5, is because the "woman as a doll" imagery that he seems fond of using put me off every time I came across it...
Michael Finocchiaro
One of the most beautiful collection of love poems ever (and followed by one which will bring tears to your eyes), Neruda is clearly a master of language and feeling and I always derive comfort from every time I read this book.
She loved me, sometimes I loved her.
How could I not have loved her large, still eyes?
I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
To think I don’t have her. To feel that I’ve lost her. To hear the immense night, more immense without her. And the poem falls to the soul as d
Apr 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
"Speechless, my friend,
alone in the loneliness of this hour of the dead
and filled with the lives of fire,
pure heir of the ruined day. "

It was glorious one ! ! !
As I had seen recently in some friend's review and Crossing my other books, I've chosen to read it first which had been waiting for me so long in my shelf.
Well, It's classic poetry with all the poetic devices were glittering in so wonderful form of words along in thread of rhythmic poetry. However, I'm keen reader of profound and dee
David Schaafsma
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII
Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda was one of the great poets of the twentieth century, one of the great poets of all time—one of the great love poets, surrealist poets, political poets, poets of odes to common things.

I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries
the light of those
B. P. Rinehart
This is a bilingual review: English first, then Spanish./Esta es una reseña bilingüe: inglés, luego español. (Muchas gracias, Miquel.)

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 by Paul of Tar
Beautiful and sensual with a touch of lingering sadness.
One of my favs:

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example,'The night is shattered
and the blue stars shiver in the distance.'

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me sometimes, and I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her g
Oct 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who appreciate being steeped in imagery... & passion.
Shelves: translations, poetry
I took my time reading this, choosing to savor the succulent, vivid, tactile words. I must say, these poems are luscious! I feel their imagery as much as visualize it. Phrases such as "In the moist night my garment of kisses trembles..." A garment of kisses. How delightful! (I want one!)

I also love how he is constantly mixing ideas of fire and water together, as if with love somehow they feed off each other where they should cancel each other out. "Bonfire of awe in which my thirst was burning."
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
Achingly beautiful and haunting - words that transition from falling stars to fireflies as you are lost in wanting - highest recommendation.
Shine Sebastian
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own, poetry, 2018
Beautiful! Profusion of sweet and tender emotions poured at will.
Sensual, poetic, nostalgic and melancholy.
Neruda does not play with the intangible. He does not waste words with the abstract. One simply needs to read and take in the pure and stark versification of the sensualities of life, both in love and lust.

Neruda’s distinct style in poetry is easily distinguishable.

First, his work is intuitive of the austere beauty of nature and his Chilean roots. The verses are reflective of the uncompromising beauty of the environment that he has witnessed in his formative years. The poems allude to the vas
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Tonight I can write the saddest lines
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.”

I'm still drunk on Neruda's poems and to be honest, I'm not sure I'll sober up again anytime soon. The author's words seem to draw you into a kind of trance in which you start to say the poems out loud, creating a mixture of the poet's feelings and yours. You then keep the trance by listening to your own words, Neruda's words spoken through your tongue; the sound that could hypnotize you easily till dawn.

“I am n
Roy Lotz
Oh, the power to celebrate you with all the words of happiness
To sing, to burn, to flee, like a church bell in the hands of a madman.

Pablo Neruda is the most famous Spanish-speaking poet of the 20th century, perhaps in all of literature. He published this, his most popular book, when he was 19 years old—a fact which will fill you with hope or despair, depending on your age. Yet it is youth (being the period in which love is felt most and understood least) that is the best time to write love po
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Quick Update, 7-8-17:
I didn't intend to review this again. In honesty, I'm trying to hit 150 for complete reads this year, which makes about four per week. I own a copy of this now and I knew how quickly I could read it. I'm shocked, stunned, mesmerized. I read some of his other writings and they didn't impact me the same, so I put Neruda at 20 on my list. Now I've moved him up to number 2, just under Kafka. The collection reads like a love story: a man lives a rough life, and a woman helps lear
Feb 14, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Poems that I love
The Cataract of Lodore

 From its sources which well

 In the tarn on the fell;

 From its fountains

 In the mountains,

 Its rills and its gills;

 Through moss and through brake,

 It runs and it creeps

 For a while, till it sleeps

 In its own little lake.

 And thence at departing,

 Awakening and starting,

 It runs through the reeds,

 And away it proceeds,

 Through meadow and glade,

 In sun and in shade,

 And through the wood-shelter,

 Among crags in its flurry,


Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
"Always, always you recede through the evenings
towards where the twilight goes erasing statues."

An enduring collection of exquisite verses. Even though translated from Spanish, these words sound eloquent and lyrical.

Simple, sensual, beautiful words filled with tenderness and a vivid imagination.

"I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains,
dark hazels, and rustic basket of kisses.
I want
to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees."

Lush, rich, intense words filled with r
Aug 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Has anyone read and understood the Song of Solomon? Neruda must have. And he must have understood it too! These poems are more than just about the physical love between man and woman: they are about what happens to the soul. For some reason pine trees feature a fair amount here, from " ... as I love you, the pines in the wind / want to sing your name with their leaves of wire" to "I have said that you sang in the wind / like the pines and like the masts. / Like them you are tall and taciturn, / ...more
Abubakar Mehdi
Jul 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
The memory of you emerges from the night around me.
The river mingles its stubborn lament with the sea.

Deserted like the wharves at dawn.
It is the hour of departure, oh deserted one! 

Cold flower heads are raining over my heart.
Oh pit of debris, fierce cave of the shipwrecked.

In you the wars and the flights accumulated.
From you the wings of the song birds rose.

You swallowed everything, like distance.
Like the sea, like time. In you everything sank! 

Neruda is a magician. Its like he throws his word
Aurélien Thomas
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry

'I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.'

'Leaning into the afternoons I cast my sad nets towards your oceanic eyes.'

What's there to say? Pablo Neruda is one of my favourite poets, and here's one of his masterpiece. Verse after verse reveal striking ideas after striking ideas, gathered altogether to make fleeting and eerie poetry among the best I have ever read. It can be bold. It can be quirky. It can be sweet. It can be rough. Always, though, it transpires of a powerful se
Kwesi 章英狮
It's weird if someone saw me reading poetry in public, why? I never ever enjoyed reading poetry since the day I was born. The day that my Elementary teacher forced me to memorize an Evangelical Hymn, All Things Bright and Beautiful - in which James Herriot entitled his books - and to my 3rd Year High School teacher who required us to memorize Annabelle Lee by Edgar Allan Poe to pass her exam and so on.

If I have the chance to change my past, I want to change my love to poetry. I'm sure if anybody
Sep 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kara by: A Gift from Matthew Seuschek
Shelves: poetry
Nature and love are probably two of the world’s most mysterious offerings. His poems consistently bring the two together and takes the reader into the innocence of true love, immense passion and complete surrender. He enhances the experience by calling attention to the natural beauty of the world around us, a beauty that can also be found within us.
Maru Kun
Quiero hacer contigo
lo que la primavera hace con los cerezos

I want to do with you
what spring does with the cherry trees

I think I will memorize this in Spanish. You never know when it may come in useful.
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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
“I want
To do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.”
“Tonight I can write the saddest lines
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.”
More quotes…