Some favorite lines from Neruda’s Extravagaria

From “Forgotten in Autumn”

A few favorite lines from Neruda’s Extravagaria. These come from the translations of Alastair Reid.

-I cannot exist without leaves

flying and falling to earth.


-I am a well in the water of which

the night leaves stars behind

and goes on alone across fields.


-perhaps a huge silence

might interrupt this sadness

of never understanding ourselves

and of threatening ourselves with death.

Perhaps the earth can teach us

as when everything seems dead

and later proves to be alive.


-Her eyes were the colour of faraway love.


-The lamb is gold on its coals

and the onion undresses.


-at last we buy the guitar

that wept alone in the store.


-and that’s how we are, forever falling

into the deep well of other beings.


-as if rain had been falling

restlessly in my memory.


-The day had spread itself

and everything was light

and the sea was beating

like a slaty lion,



-All the poplars wore

the colour and tingle of bells.

It was col, and the sky spread

amply over the sadness.


-It rains, rains a slow rain,

it rains perpetual needles

and the horse which is galloping

dissolved into rain.


-all the time the waves keep arriving

dressed in white for school.


-let us make a profession of being earth-bound

let us touch the earth with our beings.


-Of everything I have seen,

it is you I want to go on seeing;

of everything I’ve touched,

it’s your flesh I want to go on touching.

I love your orange laughter.

I am moved by the sight of you sleeping.


-flowering like the stars,

and measureless as a kiss.


-the pines were whispering things

in their melancholy language


-When my sister invited her

and I went out to open the door,

the sun came in, the stars came in,

two tresses of wheat came in

and two inexhaustible eyes.


-Then Buillermina entered

with her blue lightning eyes

which swept across my hair

and pinned me like swords

against the wall of winter.


-I want verses of felt or feather

which scarcely weigh, mild verses

with the intimacy of beds

where people have loved and dreamed.

I want poems stained

by hands and everydayness.


-The world has the smell of a star.


-I have come back, and still the sea

keeps sending me strange foam.

It does not get used to the way I see.

The sand does not recognize me.


-ropes like gold arteries,

anchors as heavy as planets,

long and intricate chains

like intestines of the whale itself


-when I spoke to a stone

it rang like a bell.


-in the sombreros of autumn.

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2 Responses to Some favorite lines from Neruda’s Extravagaria

  1. Amy Merrill OKeefe says:

    This makes me miss Neruda… so I’ve done a hasty reading and here is a line I love from the poem “Absence.” (It’s better in context, but here it is anyway, as a taste.)

    My love, We have found each other Thirsty and we have Drunk up all the water and the Blood, We found each other Hungry And we bit each other As fire bites, Leaving wounds in us.

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