Friday, October 26, 2012 | By: Brianna

Poetry Friday -- Love

This morning, when I woke up and thought about writing a blog post, I realized: hey, it's Friday!  Poetry Friday!  Then I didn't know what poem to write about.  I thought I might cheat and write about how (just like every year around this time of October) I'm considering participating in National Novel Writing Month.  I have yet to actually commit to doing it, well, let's be honest, I'd like to, but it's more a matter of committing to an idea than anything else.  Anyway...

Novels aren't the point, because today's about poetry.

Today I read Pablo Neruda's "Love," which I'm also going to type here because it took me an eternity to find it when I wanted to read it originally.  It makes me really want to be best friends with Pablo Neruda, steal his brain, and kiss him on the mouth.  Maybe not in that order though.

Love -- Pablo Neruda

So many days, oh so many days
seeing you so tangible and so close
how do I pay, with what do I pay?

The bloodthirsty spring
has awakened in the woods.
The foxes start from their earths,
the serpents drink the dew,
and I go with you in the leaves
between the pines and the silence,
asking myself how and when
I will have to pay for my luck.

Of everything I have seen,
it's 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.

What am I to do, love, loved one?
I don't know how others love
or how people loved in the past.
I live, watching you, loving you.
Being in love is my nature.

You please me more each afternoon.

Where is she?  I keep on asking
if your eyes disappear.
How long she's taking!  I think, and I'm hurt.
I feel poor, foolish and sad,
and you arrive and you are lightning
glancing off the peach trees.

That's why I love you and yet not why.
There are so many reasons, and yet so few,
for love has to be so,
involving and general,
particular and terrifying,
joyful and grieving,
flowering like the stars,
and measureless as a kiss.

So I'm a sap.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am a complete and total sap, and they're either okay with it or they ignore me when I go into "sap mode."  I adore this poem.  I found quotes from it when I was browsing around Tumblr trying to decide if I want to get a Tumblr.  Then there was a gigantic Google search of epicness during which I found a bunch of other Neruda poems, none of them the ones that I wanted until I finally stumbled upon this one.  So I printed it out and it now lives on my bulletin board.  Basically it's awesome.

Anyway...I really love the third stanza.  The third stanza is the one that caught my eye originally and made me want to read the entire poem.  I love it.  Like a lot.  It's just about as good as chocolate covered strawberries and cuddly kisses.  It's so simple, and yet it's so swooningly romantic that I want to shake Pablo Neruda's hand and congratulate him for writing something so beautiful.  I don't know what "orange laughter" is, but I imagine it being something bright and delightful and sunshiney, and that makes me happy.

I like the idea that this poem takes on something that is so easily cliched because it's written about so much, and makes it new and fresh.  Sure, there are probably a ton of poems about how the speaker doesn't think they deserve the one who loves them, but this poem ropes in the element of luck and the consternation that the speaker will have to pay for having been so lucky in love.  This ups the stakes and makes things not so much about the self-deprecation of the speaker but more so about the elevation of the loved.

I have never heard spring described as "bloodthirsty," and I'm not quite certain how I feel about it.  But I am inclined to think that it has to do with the spring being most associated with love and "mating season" that it heats the blood, as it were.  These images of nature in the second stanza make me believe that the speaker's love for the subject is as natural as breathing.

"Lightning glancing off the peach trees."  Can we talk about how beautiful that is?  Sure, it's destructive in that lightning striking just about anything fries the "anything," but peach trees make me think of scent and fruit and delicious things and lightning is dangerous, but combined with peaches, it makes it all worthwhile.  Goodness gracious.  And I'm not sure how stars "flower," but yes.  So much yes.

1.  What is orange laughter?  Can you write something that either explains what this is or explores the idea of many-colored laughters?
2.  I dare you to write an un-cliche love poem.
3.  Write a poem in which the speaker self-deprecates in order to talk about their love.  Then find a way to twist that self-deprecation into an elevation of the love.
4.  Create an image of dangerous beauty.  What does it feel like, and what kind of emotions does it inspire in the speaker?
5.  Write about the bloodthirsty spring.  What's up with that?

"I love your orange laughter."
- Pablo Neruda, 'Love'


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