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.