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(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973 / Parral / Chile)

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I like you calm, as if you were absent

I like you calm, as if you were absent,
and you hear me far-off, and my voice does not touch you.
It seems that your eyelids have taken to flying:
it seems that a kiss has sealed up your mouth.
Since all these things are filled with my spirit,
you come from things, filled with my spirit.
You appear as my soul, as the butterfly’s dreaming,
and you appear as Sadness’s word.
I like you calm, as if you were distant,
you are a moaning, a butterfly’s cooing.
You hear me far-off, my voice does not reach you.
Let me be calmed, then, calmed by your silence.
Let me commune, then, commune with your silence,
clear as a light, and pure as a ring.
You are like night, calmed, constellated.
Your silence is star-like, as distant, as true.
I like you calm, as if you were absent:
distant and saddened, as if you were dead.
One word at that moment, a smile, is sufficient.
And I thrill, then, I thrill: that it cannot be so.

XV From:’ Veinte poemas de amor’
I like you calm, as if you were absent,
and you hear me far-off, and my voice does not touch you.
It seems that your eyelids have taken to flying:
it seems that a kiss has sealed up your mouth.
Since all these things are filled with my spirit,
you come from things, filled with my spirit.
You appear as my soul, as the butterfly’s dreaming,
and you appear as Sadness’s word.
I like you calm, as if you were distant,
you are a moaning, a butterfly’s cooing.
You hear me far-off, my voice does not reach you.
Let me be calmed, then, calmed by your silence.
Let me commune, then, commune with your silence,
clear as a light, and pure as a ring.
You are like night, calmed, constellated.
Your silence is star-like, as distant, as true.
I like you calm, as if you were absent:
distant and saddened, as if you were dead.
One word at that moment, a smile, is sufficient.
And I thrill, then, I thrill: that it cannot be so.

Submitted: Monday, March 22, 2010


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Comments about this poem (Canto XII from The Heights of Macchu Picchu by Pablo Neruda )

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  • Geetha Jayakumar (9/24/2013 4:56:00 AM)

    I like you calm
    As my voice won't touch you
    Your calm poem is sung by many
    As if you were absent to see us.
    But your calm voice is heard by us
    Our hearts are too beating in calm
    Lending a ear to hear more from you!

    Beautiful is the poem from you Dear Poet..loved reading it..

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Eduardo Carcamo (8/15/2012 8:02:00 PM)

    love this poem very much and is a shame that the true meaning gets lost in translation

  • Ozzie Berrois (2/11/2012 12:42:00 PM)

    Neruda is simple awesome...but much more if read in original Spanish

Read all 3 comments »

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