Monday, May 21, 2012

The Mnemosyne Weekly: Poem Twelve (Neruda)

Carnal apple, Woman filled, burning moon
XII From: Cien sonetos de amor
Translated by A. S. Kline

Neruda is my favorite poet, and this is one of my favorite poems by him. His gift for transformation and transcendence through metaphor is mind-boggling. Every line is a surprise, every image a delight, every phrase the birth of language.

If you're not familiar with Neruda, he was a Chilean diplomat, a poet, a politician, and the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was an incredibly versatile poet, writing in an eclectic mishmash of styles and modes and of great variety in subject matter.

If you're new to the blog, please check out the first Mnemosyne Post. And please keep suggesting titles! I always learn the most from the ones I would have never thought to select myself.

Have a great week, everyone! I hope you enjoy the poem!

Carnal apple, Woman filled, burning moon

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.


  1. What a delightful and delicious selection for this week Melissa. Thank you! How vital it makes me feel to dance through these four intensely alive stanza's of Pablo Neruda.

  2. So glad you like the poem! I feel the same way about it!

  3. Whew! Great example. I love the book called Full Woman Fkeshly Apple by Stephen Mitchell. One of the most sensual collections of Don Pablo!

    "What primal night does Man touch with his senses?"

    Well that's a line to launch a thousand poems. Maybe there is an answer to that question ... I will ponder it.

    While my memory sucks, I can still enjoy your choices and hope to one day join in the mnemosyne game with you. For now, I am lurking.


  4. Please, by all means, keep lurking as long as you wish. I love your amazing feedback. You have a way of diving right into the very pulse of a poem, and I LOVE hearing what you think! Also, I'd never heard of the Mitchell book and am going to check it out now! So, thank you!