Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair” as Want to Read:
Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair

by
4.31  ·  Rating details ·  40,847 Ratings  ·  1,761 Reviews
Drawn from the most intimate and personal associations, Pablo Neruda's most beloved collection of poetry juxtaposes the exuberance of youthful passion with the desolation of grief, the sensuality of the body with the metaphorical nuances of nature. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet W. S. Merwin's masterly translation faces the original Spanish text. This edition also features an ...more
Paperback, 70 pages
Published December 26th 2006 by Penguin Classics (first published 1924)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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.
The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily DickinsonLeaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanAriel by Sylvia PlathSonnets by William ShakespeareThe Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. Eliot
Best Poetry Books
2,113 books — 2,189 voters
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García MárquezLove in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García MárquezThe House of the Spirits by Isabel AllendeLike Water for Chocolate by Laura EsquivelFicciones by Jorge Luis Borges
Latin American Fiction
618 books — 898 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Danny
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
...more
Richard
Jun 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
3 THINGS ABOUT THIS BOOK

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
...more
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
vie
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
...more
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
Gaurav
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
...more
Seemita
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
...more
Jibran
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
...more
Foad
تا به من گوش دهی،
کلماتم
گاه نازکی میگیرند
چون رد گاکیان بر ساحل

دستبندی، از زنگولههای مست
برای دستهای چون انگورْ نرمت

و من نظاره میکنم از دور به کلماتم
- بیشتر از آن تو هستند، تا از آن من -
که از درد کهن من بالا میروند، چون پیچک

بالا میروند، همچنان که از دیوارهای نمور
گناه این بازی بی رحم به گردن توست
میگریزند از کنام تاریکم
هر چه را میآکنی تو، هر چه را میآکنی

پیش از تو، آنان پر میکردند انزوایی را که تو پر کردی
و آشناترند از تو به اندوهم

حال میخواهم برایت بگویند
آنچه من میخواهم بگویمت
تا گوش دهی، همان گونه که م
...more
Traveller
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
...more
عبدالله ناصر

الحقيقة هناك أكثر من تقييم.
الأول للمترجم مروان حداد و الثاني لمحمود السيد علي و الذي تتفوق عليه بمراحل ترجمة قوقل الفورية! الترجمة الثالثة كانت للبطوطي و لم أعثر عليها حتى الآن. يمكن للترجمة أن تحط من قدر أكبر الشعراء و قد فعلها محمود السيد علي إذ صنع من نيرودا مشعوذاً يكتب الطلاسم لا الأشعار و المثالين التاليين بمقدورهما أن يوضحا الفكرة تماماً :

أرنوها نائية كلماتي / كلماتك أكثر منها كلماتي / تتسلق ألمي العتيق أشجار لبلاب* بينما يترجمها مروان حداد - شكراً جداً يا مروان - و أرى كلماتي بعيدة /وأب
...more
Hirdesh
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
...more
Ken Moten
Sep 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Bill  Kerwin
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spanish-lit, poetry

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
...more
whichwaydidshego?
Oct 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who appreciate being steeped in imagery... & passion.
Shelves: poetry, translations
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."
...more
Athena ღ
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Εδώ σ'αγαπάω εγώ!
Δε πα να σε κρύβει όσο θέλει ο ορίζοντας - ματαιοπονεί!
Εσένα σ'αγαπάω εγώ,επιμένω.
Ακόμα και μέσα στη ψύχρα των γύρω πραγμάτων.
Κάθε τόσο φεύγουν τα φιλιά μου
και πάνε μαζί με τα καράβια εκείνα,
τα ποντοπόρα, και φτάνουν περ' απ' το τέρμα, στα εκείθε.
Ahmed Oraby
كم هو قصير الحب
وكم هو طويل النسيان. :'))
Jareed
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
...more
Cynn
Dec 24, 2013 rated it liked it

Ahora me dieron ganas de abrazar...bueno les dejo el que más me "sacudió"...

Poema 20

Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.
Escribir, por ejemplo: "La noche esta estrellada,
y tiritan, azules, los astros, a lo lejos".
El viento de la noche gira en el cielo y canta.
Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.
Yo la quise, y a veces ella también me quiso.
En las noches como ésta la tuve entre mis brazos.
La besé tantas veces bajo el cielo infinito.
Ella me quiso, a veces yo tamb
...more
Joanito_a
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Αναδύεται η θύμησή σου από τη νύχτα που με στεγάζει.
Το ποτάμι αδειάζει στη θάλασσα τον επίμονο θρήνο του."

"Τώρα πιά δεν την αγαπάω, σίγουρα...
Πόσο όμως θεέ μου , την αγάπησα τότε.
Πολέμαγε η φωνή μου να βρει τη ριπή του ανέμου
που θα της άγγιζε το αυτί."

"Θ' ακούω την απέραντη νύχτα,
την πέντε φορές απέραντη χωρίς εκείνην.
Και τους στίχους να πέφτουν στην ψυχή μου
όπως πέφτει η δροσιά στο λιβάδι."
Shine Sebastian
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, books-i-own, poetry
Beautiful! Profusion of sweet and tender emotions poured at will.
Sensual, poetic, nostalgic and melancholy.
Yani
Oct 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: románticos sin remedio
2016 Reading Challenge: #31 Un libro de poesía

Es un 3.5 y en realidad quería calificarlo con tres. Sin embargo, consideré que el libro no tiene que pagar por mi error: a mí los poemas de amor no me gustan (no me interesa como tema, para ser exacta) y yo ya estaba advertida desde el título. Como todavía no había leído a Neruda y este es uno de sus libros más famosos, no dudé mucho en elegirlo.
Sentí que en los 20 poemas y en la canción desesperada dice siempre lo mismo pero con distintas palab
...more
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
...more
Antonio
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
...more
♤°◦كَـوْكَب◦°♤
كَان ِلي حُلم عِشتُ سنِينَ عمُرِي أرَعَاه
. أن يَكتُب لِي القَدر يَوماً لِقَاائَك..
ولَكن كَان للقَدر رأيَ اَخر
فَما اَصعبُ مُفراَاقَات الاَقدَار
Irmak
Jun 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kütüphanem
Çeviriden dolayı şiirlerin çok fazla anlam kaybı yaşadığını düşünüyorum. Yani bence öyle olmuş. Öyle çok fazla sevemedim ben. Hissedemedim de zaten. Sadece sonlara doğru 3-5 şiir hoşuma gitti, hepsi bu. Bayılmadım, hoşuma gitti.

Bu gece en hüzünlü şiiri yazabilirim.

Şöyle diyebilirim: 'Gece yıldızla dolu
ve yıldızlar, masmavi, titreşiyor uzakta.'

Şakıyarak dönüyor gökte gece rüzgarı.

Bu gece en hüzünlü şiiri yazabilirim.
Sevdim ben onu, o da beni sevdi bir ara.
Brian
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
...more
La Mala ✌
Cuando tenía quince años y vivía enamorada hasta del aire , las palabras que repetía constantemente siempre estaban relacionadas con la tristeza . Cada vez que vivía un amor apasionado no correspondido , me sumergía en depresiones eternas y me regocijaba recitando cosas como "Es tan corto el amor y tan largo el olvido" . Siempre que sentía que iba a morirme de amor y escuchaba mi historia en cada poema , Neruda era el más importante .

Después crecí .Hace poco , en la facultad -hogar de los arroga
...more
Fareya
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,
bluebells,
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
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Collected Poems, 1957-1987
  • The Selected Poems
  • View With a Grain of Sand: Selected Poems
  • Book of My Nights
  • A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry
  • The Wild Iris
  • Duino Elegies and The Sonnets to Orpheus
  • Satan Says (Pitt Poetry Series)
  • The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa
  • What Is This Thing Called Love: Poems
  • Selected Poems
  • Love Poems
  • Dancing in Odessa
  • The Collected Poems
  • North
  • Loose Woman
6,775 followers
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

Romance Deals

  • Party Girl
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Confounding Case Of The Carisbrook Emeralds (The Casebook of Barnaby Adair 6)
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Paris (International Guy #1)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • Shame on Him (Fool Me Once, #3)
    $4.99 $0.99
  • Out of Breath (Breathing, #3)
    $5.49 $1.99
  • Off Base (Out of Uniform, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Barely Breathing (Breathing, #2)
    $5.49 $1.99
  • Reason to Breathe (Breathing, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Second Chance Summer (Cedar Ridge, #1)
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Married By Morning (The Hathaways, #4)
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Playing It Safe
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Beneath Copper Falls (Rock Harbor #6)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Tight
    $4.99 $2.49
  • A Year of Weddings: Twelve Love Stories (A Year of Weddings Novella)
    $12.99 $3.99
  • The Curse Keepers (The Curse Keepers #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Feral Sins (The Phoenix Pack, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days (The Embraced #1)
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Shame on You (Fool Me Once, #1)
    $4.99 $0.99
  • Shame on Me (Fool Me Once, #2)
    $4.99 $0.99
  • The Curse Breakers (The Curse Keepers #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Dirty Exes (Liars, Inc., #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Shadow's Edge (Night Prowler, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • First Drop of Crimson (Night Huntress World, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • A Taste of Magic (Magic, # 1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Where the Road Takes Me
    $3.99 $1.99
  • New York (International Guy #2)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • Sin With Me (Bad Habit, #3)
    $4.99 $0.99
  • The Memory of You
    $8.99 $1.99
  • One Foot in the Grave (Night Huntress, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Wicked Cravings (The Phoenix Pack, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Good Guys Love Dogs
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Camino Beach
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Shadow Woman
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Embrace the Night (Vampire Romance #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Shell Seekers
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Wicked White (Wicked White Series Book 1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • All the Little Lights
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Carnal Secrets (The Phoenix Pack, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Scream For Me: A Novel of the Night Hunter (For Me, #3)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • When Life Happened
    $3.99 $1.49
  • Cheater (Curious Liaisons, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Cheater's Regret (Curious Liaisons, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Hunting Grounds (Hidden Sins, #2)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Consequence of Revenge (Consequence, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Consequence of Seduction (Consequence #3)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Story of Us
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Consequence of Loving Colton (Consequence, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • No More Masquerade (Secrets of Stone Series Book 2)
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Dunaway's Crossing
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Twisted Truths (Blood Brothers, #3)
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Curse Defiers (The Curse Keepers, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Roommate 'dis'Agreement
    $2.99 $1.49
  • The Rules of Regret
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Cry Baby
    $3.99 $1.49
  • Matchmaking for Beginners
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Hollywood Dirt (Hollywood Dirt, #1)
    $4.99 $2.49
  • Threat of Danger (Mission Recovery, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Copenhagen (International Guy #3)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • Don't Hex with Texas (Enchanted, Inc., #4)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Windfallen
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Wild Hunger (The Phoenix Pack, #7)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Archer's Voice
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Wicked Intentions (Maiden Lane, #1)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Billionaire's Touch (The Sinclairs, #3)
    $4.99 $0.99
  • No Ordinary Billionaire (The Sinclairs, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Rescuing Sadie (Delta Force Heroes #7.5; Masters & Mercenaries Crossover Collection)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • The Forbidden Billionaire (The Sinclairs, #2)
    $4.99 $0.99
  • No Turning Back (Kathleen Turner #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Surviving Girls (Hidden Sins, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Dirt on Ninth Grave (Charley Davidson, #9)
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Dark Instincts (The Phoenix Pack, #4)
    $4.99 $1.99
“I want
To do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.”
3803 likes
“Tonight I can write the saddest lines
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.”
3625 likes
More quotes…