Tie your heart at night to mine, love,
and both will defeat the darkness
like twin drums beating in the forest
against the heavy wall of wet leaves.
Night crossing: black coal of dream
that cuts the thread of earthly orbs
with the punctuality of a headlong train
that pulls cold stone and shadow endlessly.
Love, because of it, tie me to a purer movement,
to the grip on life that beats in your breast,
with the wings of a submerged swan,
So that our dream might reply
to the sky’s questioning stars
with one key, one door closed to shadow.

Pablo Neruda, 1959
Translation by A. S. Kline

You will recall the gorge of capricious waters
from which throbbing perfumes climbed,
and a bird, from time to time, clothed
with liquid slowness: winter plumage.

You will recall the gifts of the earth:
hot scents, clay of gold,
scrub grasses, mad roots,
bewitched thorns like swords.

You will recall the branch you bore,
branch of shadow and water of silence
branch like a stone of spume.

And that time was as never and always:
we go there where nothing does not await us,
and find all that is waiting there.

Pablo Neruda, 1959
Translation by A. S. Kline

My love, at the shutting of this door of night
I ask of you, love, a journey through a dark pound:
shut out your dreams: enter with your sky my eyes:
stretch out in my blood as if in a wide river.
Goodbye, goodbye, cruel clarity that was dropped
into the bag of every day of the past:
goodbye to every gleam of clocks or oranges:
welcome oh shadow, periodic friend!
In this boat, or water, or death, or new life,
one more time we unite, slumbering, resurrected:
we are the marriage of the night in the blood.
I don’t know who lives or dies, sleeps or wakes,
but it is your heart that delivers,
to my chest, the gifts of the dawn.

Pablo Neruda, 1959
Translation by A. S. Kline

In the wave-strike over unquiet stones
the brightness bursts and bears the rose
and the ring of water contracts to a cluster
to one drop of azure brine that falls.

O magnolia radiance breaking in spume,
magnetic voyager whose death flowers
and returns, eternal, to being and nothingness:
shattered brine, dazzling leap of the ocean.
Merged, you and I, my love, seal the silence
while the sea destroys its continual forms,
collapses its turrets of wildness and whiteness,

because in the weft of those unseen garments
of headlong water, and perpetual sand,
we bear the sole, relentless tenderness.

Pablo Neruda, 1959
Translation by A. S. Kline

One time more, my love, the net of light extinguishes
work, wheels, flames, boredoms and farewells,
and we surrender the swaying wheat to night,
the wheat that noon stole from earth and light.
The moon alone in the midst of its clear page
sustains the pillars of Heaven’s Bay,
the room acquires the slowness of gold,
and your hands go here and there preparing night.
O love, O night. O cupola ringed by a river
of impenetrable water in the shadows of Heaven,
that raises and drowns its tempestuous orbs,
until we are only the one dark space
a glass into which fall celestial ashes,
one drop in the flow of a vast slow river.

Pablo Neruda, 1959
Translation by A. S. Kline

Carnal apple, Woman filled, burning moon,
dark smell of seaweed, crush of mud and light,
what secret knowledge is clasped between your pillars?
What primal night does Man touch with his senses?

Ay, Love is a journey through waters and stars,
through suffocating air, sharp tempests of grain:
Love is a war of lightning,
and two bodies ruined by a single sweetness.

Kiss by kiss I cover your tiny infinity,
your margins, your rivers, your diminutive villages,
and a genital fire, transformed by delight,

slips through the narrow channels of blood
to precipitate a nocturnal carnation,
to be, and be nothing but light in the dark.

Pablo Neruda, 1959
Translation by A. S. Kline

March days return with their covertlight,      
and huge fish swim through the sky,
vague earthly vapours progress in secret,
things slip to silence one by one.

Through fortuity, at this crisis of errant skies,
you reunite the lives of the sea to that of fire,
grey lurchings of the ship of winter
to the form that love carved in the guitar.

O love, O rose soaked by mermaids and spume,
dancing flame that climbs the invisible stairway,
to waken the blood in insomnia’s labyrinth,

so that the waves can complete themselves in the sky,
the sea forget its cargoes and rages,
and the world fall into darkness’s nets.

Pablo Neruda, 1959
Translation by A. S. Kline

Through the mountains you pass like the breeze
or the sudden quickening that falls from the snow,
or your hair, throbbing with light, confirms
the high glittering of sun in the thicket.
All the light of the Caucasus falls on your body
as though into a little vase of glass, infinite,
where the water transforms itself, by dressing, by singing
at every transparent move of the river.
Through the mountains the ancient road of warriors
and below it seething, shines like a sword,
water between ramparts of mineral hands,
until you receive from the woods, in a moment,
the branch or lightning flash of some blue flower
and the unknown arrow of a wild fragrance.

Pablo Neruda, 1959
Translation by A. S. Kline

Who ever desired each other as we do? Let us look
for the ancient ashes of hearts that burned,
and let our kisses touch there, one by one,
till the flower, disembodied, rises again.

Let us love that Desire that consumed its own fruit
and went down, aspect and power, into the earth:
We are its continuing light,
its indestructible, fragile seed.

That Desire, interred in time’s deep winter,
by snows and spring-times, absence and autumns,
bring to it the apple’s new light,

that freshness disclosed by a strange wound,
like that ancient Desire that journeys in silence
through submerged mouths’ eternities.

Pablo Neruda, 1959
Translation by A. S. Kline

The light that climbs from your feet to your hair,
the mantle enveloping your delicate form,
are not sea’s nacre, or frozen silver:
you are bread, bread, dear to the fire.

The grain built its silo around you, and rose,
increased by a golden age,
while its wheaten surge recreated your breasts,
my love was an ember labouring in earth.

Oh, bread of your forehead, your legs, and your mouth,
bread I consume, born each day with the light,
dear one, the bake-houses’ banner and sign:

the fire taught your blood its lessons,
you learnt sacredness from grain,
and your language, your perfume are bread.

Pablo Neruda, 1959
Translation by A. S. Kline