Friday, 12 September 2014

End of Neruda week: Review 100 Love Sonnets

Cien sonetos de amor / 100 love sonnets

by Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)
first published in 1959
translated in English by Stephen Tapscott
University of Texas Press, Austin, USA, 23rd paperback printing

The 100 sonnets is divided in the four parts of a day, but that doesn't mean there are an equal number of sonnets into each daily period. Morning contains 32 sonnets, Afternoon 21, Evening 35 and Night 12. If the parts of the day symbolize the stages of a relationship the sonnets have some points of departure, but it looks more like an artistic way to divide the 100 poems into readable pieces.

It is a romantic idea isn’t it, to write 100 love poems, sonnets, to your new loved one. The sonnets all have the same sonnet order, 4 lines, 4 lines, 3 lines, 3 lines, but Neruda wants to write about love instead of keeping the traditional rules of sonnet writing. And he did. It took me almost three months to read all sonnets. I read poetry slow. Poem by poem and not more then three of four a day. I have to use a dictionary to find the words I don’t know, in English of Spanish ( each poem is bi-lingual). I have to find out the way the poem should be read and I admire the beauty of the text.

I chose this week four poems from each of the daily periods and wrote a little about why I chose that particular one. It was hard to do. The book bursts of beauty and each page contains at least one overwhelming line. Like sonnet 34:

I wish the love and dignity of bees for your hands,
mixing and spreading their transparent brood
in the earth, they cultivate even my heart,

so that I am like a scorched rock
that suddenly sings when you are near, because it drinks
the water you carry from the forest, in your voice.

That’s what I mean. Neruda carries his love from his heart in his poems. And he should have stayed far away from politics and just write about love. Because Neruda writes so breathtaking about love you cannot do anything else but fall in love with his poetry.

The first book of the Goodreads Galore Challenge is read. I chose Pablo Neruda because the first book and the last book of my reading list should be about love.

Because all things begin and end with love.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. " Because all things begin and end with love."


    Thank you for this week, Han.
    I had enjoyed it very much.

    Mona Lisa

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it Mona Lisa. It was fun to do. Thank you for your Neruda comments ;-)


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