Poems about love

July 3, 2010

I can’t be the only poet and poetry lover who’s noticed that almost all truly wonderful love poems deal with broken hearts and lost and/or unrequited love. It’s difficult to find poetry about love that’s genuine and resonant, yet happy also. I can only suppose that happy lovers don’t write poetry.

Here’s one of my favorite Pablo Neruda pieces, Don’t Go Far Off, Not Even for a Day. It’s not happy, no. But it resonates with me at this time in my life because, with delicate and fragile yet passionate voice, it deals with a love that isn’t lost. I don’t share the poet’s abject, active fear of losing his loved one, but I can certainly understand the pain behind contemplating such an event. I can admire and understand that pathos only from a distance; the love affair I’m in now will never diminish or wander away, not even for a day…

Don’t go far off, not even for a day, because –
Because – I don’t know how to say it: a day is long
And I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station
When the trains are parked off somewhere, asleep.

Don’t leave me, even for an hour, because
Then the little drops of anguish will all run together,
The smoke that roams looking for a home will drift
Into me, choking my lost heart.

Oh, may your silhouette never dissolve on the beach;
May your eyelids never flutter into the empty distance.
Don’t leave me for a second, my dearest,

Because in that moment you’ll have gone so far
I’ll wander mazily over all the earth, asking,
Will you come back?
Will you leave me here, dying?

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