And Because Love Battles
And because love battles
not just in its own burning fields
but also in the mouths of men and women,
I will finish this fight by taking the trail
from those would come between my chest and your fragrance
to plant their confused plants.
They will say about me
nothing worse, my love,
than what I have told you myself.
Before I knew you,
I lived in the prairies.
I never waited for love to come.
I ambushed the rose and fell upon her with fierceness.
What more can they say?
I am neither good nor bad, but a man.
They will bring up the danger
of my life, which you know,
and with which you have mingled your passion.
For it is good, this danger.
It’s the danger of love, of perfect love,
for all life
and all lives.
And if this love brings us
death or prison,
I’m sure your big eyes will close
(as they close when I kiss them)
with double pride, my love,
yours and mine together.
They will come to speak before my ears
to tear down the tower
of the sweet, hard love that joins us.
They will say, “The one you love
is not the woman for you.
Why do you love her? Surely
you could find another more beautiful,
more serious, more deep,
more other … Do you understand me?
Look how slender this one is.
Look what a face that one has.
Look how she dresses.
And so on, and so on …”
And so, in these lines, I say to you:
I love you like this, love.
Like this, I love you:
as you wear what you wear,
as your hair floats,
as your mouth smiles
light as spring water
running over pure stones.
Like this, love, I love you.
I don’t ask bread
to teach me anything
except how to care for each day.
I know nothing about light,
where it comes from, where it goes.
I only ask the light to be light.
I do not ask the night
I await it, and it swallows me.
And it’s the same with you too,
you who are bread and light
You came into my life
with just what you had:
things made of
the light and bread and shadows
for which I waited.
And I need you that way.
I love you that way.
And to those who will hear this tomorrow,
they can read here what I will not say.
But let them keep their distance today,
for it is still early for such arguments.
Tomorrow we will give them only
a leaf from the tree of our love, a leaf
dropped on the earth
as though it had been made by our lips
as though it were a kiss that had fallen
from unfathomable heights
to show the fire and the tenderness
of a love that is true.
— Pablo NerudaTranslated from Spanish by Paul Weinfield, © 2013