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National Poetry Month Feature: J. Simon Harris and Neruda’s TWENTY LOVE POEMS AND A SONG OF DESPAIR translation

Hi, readers! It’s time once again to celebrate National Poetry Month here on ILRB.

Yay! 😀

Recently, I decided to mark this special occasion by letting J. Simon Harris come visit us and feature the brand-new English translation of Pablo Neruda’s romantic poetry. Why?

Well, do you actually need a reason to honor poetry about love? Sometimes only pretty words will do. Plus, reading it to your partner makes him/her feel special. Or even writing your own poem is appreciated now and then. You don’t need to be an expert to show how much you love someone.

If you still doubt my take on it, keep this mind…

In any case, let’s take a look at what our guest has to offer, shall we? 😉

Title: Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair

Authors: Pablo Neruda (original poems in Spanish), J. Simon Harris (English translation of the poems; introduction)

Publisher: Nostra Vita Books

Number of pages: 92

ISBN: 1710627646

Blurb:

Published in 1924, when Pablo Neruda was only twenty years old, this striking collection of love poems has proven to be the Nobel Laureate’s most popular work. The sensual imagery and heartbreaking verse have inspired lovers and lovers of poetry for nearly a century. This translation by J. Simon Harris captures the fire of the original and stays true to the poetry. This edition includes the original Spanish text of the poems on facing pages, as well as an introduction to the poet and the poems.

 

 

Poem 1

 

Body of woman, white hills, thighs white,

you seem like the world in your posture of surrender.

My body of labor, savage laborer, digs into you

and makes the son lunge from the depths of the earth.

 

I was only like a tunnel. From me the birds flew

and in me the night would enter its powerful invasion.

To live on, to survive, I forged you like a weapon,

like an arrow in my bow, like a stone in my sling.

 

But now falls the hour of vengeance, and I love you.

Body of skin, of moss, of milk avid and firm.

Ah the vessels of the breasts! Ah the eyes of absence!

Ah the roses of the pubis! Ah your voice slow and sad!

 

Body of woman mine, I will persist in your grace.

My thirst, my angst without limit, my indecisive path!

Obscure riverbeds where the thirst eternal follows,

and fatigue follows, and infinite pain.

 

Poem 3

 

Ah vastness of pines, rumor of waves breaking,

slow play of lights, lonely bell,

twilight falling in your eyes, doll,

terrestrial shell, in you the earth sings!

 

In you the rivers sing and my soul flies in them

as you desire it and to where you will.

Mark my path in your bow of hope

and I will loose in delirium my flock of arrows.

 

Around me I am seeing your waist of mist

and your silence accosts my persecuted hours,

and you are with your arms of stone, transparent,

where my kisses anchor and my humid anguish nests.

 

Ah your voice, mysterious, which love tinges and folds

in the resonant, dying dusk!

So in hours profound above the fields I’ve seen

the ears of wheat fold in the mouth of the wind.

 

Poem 18

 

Here I love you.

In the dark pines the wind untangles itself.

The moon phosphoresces over errant waters.

Days, equal, go pursuing one another.

 

The mist unbelts itself in dancing figures.

A gull of silver unhinges itself from the sunset.

At times a sail. High, high stars.

 

Or the black cross of a boat.

Alone.

At times I rise, awake, and even my soul is humid.

It sounds, resounds—the sea, distant.

This is a port.

Here I love you.

 

Here I love you and in vain it hides you, the horizon.

I am loving you even amid these frigid things.

At times my kisses go on those grave boats,

that run along the sea to where they do not arrive.

Already I see myself forgotten like these old anchors.

They are sadder, the docks, when the afternoon moors.

My life fatigues, uselessly hungry.

I love what I do not have. You are so distant.

My weariness struggles with the slow twilights.

But the night arrives and begins to sing to me.

 

The moon swirls its wheel of dream.

They look at me with your eyes—the stars, the largest stars.

And as I love you, the pines in the wind,

they want to sing your name with their leaves of wire.

 

Poem 20

 

I can write the saddest verses this night.

 

Can write, for example: “The night is starry,

and they shiver, blue, the stars, in the distance.”

 

The wind of the night swirls in the sky and sings.

 

I can write the saddest verses this night.

I craved her, and at times she too craved me.

 

On nights like this I held her in my arms.

Kissed her, so many times, beneath the infinite sky.

 

She wanted me, at times I too would want her.

How not to have loved her great, fixed eyes.

 

I can write the saddest verses this night.

To think that I don’t hold her. To feel that I have lost her.

 

To hear the night, immense—more immense without her.

And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

 

What matter, that my love could not guard her.

The night is starry and she is not with me.

 

That is all. In the distance someone sings. In the distance.

My soul is not content with having lost her.

 

As if to draw her near, my gaze searches for her.

My heart searches, and she is not with me.

 

The same night that whitens the same trees.

We, of one time, yet are not the same.

 

Already I don’t want her, it is certain—but how I craved her.

My voice would search the wind to touch her ear.

 

Another’s. She’ll be another’s. As before my kisses.

Her voice, her body clear. Her eyes infinite.

 

Already I don’t want her, it is certain—but perhaps I do.

It is so short, love, and forgetting is so long.

 

Because on nights like this I held her in my arms,

my soul is not content with having lost her.

 

Though this be the last pain she causes me,

and these the last verses I write for her.

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/b55a1R

♥♥♥ Just perfect…so romantic and somewhat melancholy at the same time. Ah, the yearning. Thank you for this poetic gift! ♥♥♥

Readers, definitely grab a copy of this latest release!

https://books2read.com/u/b55a1R

And here are 30 other ways to celebrate National Poetry Month this year…

Author/Translator Bio

J. Simon Harris was born and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina, and now lives in Raleigh with his wife Ashley, their son Luke, and their dog Hallie. He moved to Raleigh in 2005 to pursue a B.A. in English and a B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering at NC State University. He went on to receive a Ph.D. in Material Science at NCSU, and today he maintains a keen interest in theoretical physics and materials science. His other great passion lies in writing and translation. In addition to publishing a novel (Lemnos), he has translated poetry from Spanish, Italian, Ancient Greek, Old English, and Provençal. His translation of Pablo Neruda’s Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair is available now. His interpretation of Dante’s Inferno in terza rima will be published in 2020. Much of his work, including excerpts, love sonnets for his wife, and an ongoing translation of Homer’s Iliad in dactylic hexameter, can be found on his website.

Links:
Website:  https://www.jsimonharris.com/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/jsimonharris
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/jsimonharris
Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/J-Simon-Harris/e/B00C3MXUKA

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16960782.J_Simon_Harris

Books:

Once again, I want to thank our distinguished guest and writer, J. Simon Harris, for stopping by the I Love Romance Blog! It was such a pleasure to have you here! Everyone, don’t forget to follow his awesome work, and take a moment to enjoy some poetry this month, despite the worry and chaos going on in the world…

Stay safe, and as always, happy reading!🙂

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