My favorite Pablo Neruda Love Poems

Valentines Day Orchids from my hubby

I’ve read Pablo Neruda’s The Captain’s Verses (1972) a few times, the copy I have comes in English and Spanish versions of the poems.  Below are my favorite poems from Captains Verses, they literally bring tears to my eyes on every read.  Ah, el amor.  Happy Valentines Day!


I have named you queen.

There are taller ones than you, taller.

There are purer ones than you, purer.

There are lovelier than you, lovelier.

But you are the queen.

When you go through the streets

no one recognizes you.

No one sees your crystal crown, no one looks

at the carpet of red gold

that you tread as you pass,

the nonexistent carpet.

And when you appear all the rivers sound

in my body, bells

shake the sky, and a hymn fills the world.

Only you and I,

only you and I, my love,

listen to it.



I am the tiger.

I lie in wait for you among leaves

broad as ingots

of wet mineral.

The white river grows

beneath the fog. You come.

Naked you submerge.

I wait.

Then in a leap of fire, blood, teeth,

with a claw slash I tear away

your bosom, your hips.

I drink your blood, I break

your limbs one by one.

And I remain watching

for years in the forest

over your bones, your ashes,

motionless, far

from hatred and anger,

disarmed in your death,

crossed by lianas,

motionless in the rain,

relentless sentinel

of my murderous love.



I have hurt you, my dear,

I have torn your soul.

Understand me.

Everyone knows who I am,

but that “I am”

is besides a man

for you.

In you I waver, fall

and rise up burning.

You among all beings

have the right

to see me weak.

And your little hand

of bread and guitar

must touch my breast

when it goes off to fight.

That’s why I seek in you the firm stone.

Harsh hands I sink in your blood

seeking your firmness

and the depth that I need,

and if I find

only your metallic laughter, if I find

nothing on which to support my harsh steps

adored one, accept

my sadness and my anger,

my enemy hands

destroying you a little

so that you may rise from the clay

refashioned for my struggles.



Your whole body has

a fullness or a gentleness destined for me.

When I move my hand up

I find in each place a dove

that was seeking me, as

if they had, love, made you of clay

for my own potter’s hands.

Your knees, your breasts,

your waist

are missing parts of me like the hollow

of a thirsty earth

from which they broke off

a form,

and together

we are complete like a single river,

like a single grain of sand.

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