Pablo Neruda: “I Can Write the Saddest Lines Tonight”

I Can Write the Saddest Lines Tonight

I can write the saddest lines tonight.

I can write, for instance: “The night is starry,
and the blue constellations shiver in the distance.”

The night wind spins in the sky as it sings.

I can write the saddest lines tonight.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

On nights like this I held her in my arms.
I kissed her many times beneath the infinite sky.

She loved me, and sometimes I loved her too.
How could I not have loved her great, still eyes?

I can write the saddest lines tonight.
To think I don’t have her, to feel that I have lost her.

Listen to the vast night, now vaster without her.
This verse falls on my soul like dew upon the grass.

What does it matter that my love couldn’t keep her?
The night is broken and she is no longer with me.

That’s all.  In the distance, someone is singing.
Far away.  And my soul cannot be content without her.

As though to reach her, my eyes search the landscape.
My heart searches too, and still she is not with me.

The same night whitens the very same trees.
We, who are from that time, are no longer same.

I no longer love her, that’s sure, but how I once loved her.
My voice searched in the wind for a way to reach her ears.

She will be another, for another, as she was before my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body.  Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that’s true, but perhaps I still love her.
Love is so short, and forgetting is so long.

Because on nights like these I held her in my arms,
my soul cannot be content without her.

Although this is the last pain she will make me suffer,
and these the last lines I will write for her.

Pablo Neruda

Translated from Spanish by Paul Weinfield, © 2014
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