I don’t Love you As if you Were a Rose

I don’t love you as if you were a rose - Photographic Portrait of Pablo Neruda
Photographic Portrait of Pablo Neruda

The poem with the conventional title I don’t Love you As if you Were a Rose is written by the important Chilean poet Pablo Neruda and belongs to the One Hundred Love Sonnets (Cien Sonetos de amor) collection, which was released in 1959 by the Argentinean publishing house Editorial Losada.

The features of the collection include the following:

  • Neither sonnet has a title but a number
  • With the exception of poem number 66 (Sonnet LXVI: I do not love you except because i love you), none of the other sonnets are formatted on the basis of any rules of rhyme
  • The collection is divided into four sections, which represent the day sequence, namely Morning, Noon, Afternoon, and Night.

Furthermore, in the One Hundred Love Sonnets, Pablo Neruda shows a remarkable originality: the collection is dedicated to the love of his life, Mrs. Matilde Urrutia.

Pablo Neruda - Sonnet XVII

I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries
the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,
and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose
from the earth lives dimly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you directly without problems or pride:
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,

except in this form in which I am not nor are you,
so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,
so close that your eyes close with my dreams.

Translation: Mark Eisner

Poem from the One Hundred Love Sonnets (Cien Sonetos de amor) collection of 1959

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