October 27, 2007

Fragrance and True Love - (Pablo Neruda)

I wanted to share this poem I happened to find this morning. It delivers a powerful message about emotional connections forming spontaneously between a deep, complex scent and a strong emotion -- they can become identified with each other as one and the same:

Pablo Neruda


Sonnet XVII (100 Love Sonnets, 1960)

I don't love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as certain dark things are loved,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn't bloom and carries
hidden within itself the light of those flowers,
and thanks to your love, darkly in my body
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems or pride:
I love you in this way because I don't know any other way of loving

but this, in which there is no I or you,
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.


Yes, the dense fragrance that rises from the earth is a universal experience and a primal experience of being alive. It is true that in the throes of deep emotion everything seems connected. All the beauty around us, the fragrances, the shadows and the quality of the light, and our feelings.

Sometimes the perfumes and natural scents we recall from a particular period of our lives are so intimately identified with another person. It is a lot like meeting them again to wear them or come across them in some other way.

Photo above from a beautiful blog about the influence of trade routes through Asia on world culture Quests of the Dragon and Bird Clan.

More poetry by Neruda here...

7 comments:

chayaruchama said...

Neruda.
SIGH.
I'm very happy now !

Lucy said...

Glad you liked it, C...hope you enjoy Halloween tomorrow..

Anonymous said...

That poem is so amazing!
You should check out this poster of it and this non-profit. They are doing some really cool Pablo Neruda stuff.

Julie said...

Just beautiful. I find myself drawn to more earth scents these days. Perhaps because natural oils and the like just feel easier to wear.

Thanks for this!

Drop me a line about Coutorture if you are ever interested

Lucy said...

Thanks Julie. The scent of earth is so primal. I wish I could find something that really really matched it.

Lucy said...

Hi anon --

I took a look at the site, very interesting project! Neruda is well beloved...ironic that his parents didn't want him to publish under his own name (as you know he got the Nobel Prize) because they thought it was something kind of distasteful in a responsible adult engaging in poetry in any serious way...

Kathy said...

That poem was read at my wedding. :)