Tonight I can write the saddest lines

I intend not to clutter this blog with relationship woes, other than now to say it has been a hard two weeks for me.

Before last week, I thought I had moved on. We were doing the friends thing, and everything was fine. I had even bought a book of poems, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda, after I heard a female friend say that reading Neruda made her weak in the knees. What a nice way to woo the next woman in my life, by reading her poetry, I thought. (I know, call me old-fashioned.)

Of the 20 poems, I was struck by the title of the penultimate entry, “Tonight I Can Write.” As writing had just returned in my life, I chose to read that one first. I was standing in my bedroom, and as I read the poem on the page, I thought, huh, that was pretty good. I mindlessly flipped the page and realized I had only read the first half. And as I finished, a feeling of despair came over me.

et cetera.

Image by SarahWynne via Flickr

I had to sit down. Apparently not only were my own knees weak, my whole body ached (a feeling that has yet to subside) as I was taken by surprise how accurately Neruda’s feelings matched my own.

I longed for the love of my life, someone who had been with me every day, whether by my side or on the phone, for the better part of a year. And now she is not. And now she may be with someone else, as she has moved on. Henceforth I can call her only my first love, nothing more. Maybe someday I will be at peace with that, but today is not that day.

For now, here is the poem that has better captured how I feel.

Tonight I Can Write
by Pablo Neruda

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example, ‘The night is starry
and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.’

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

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

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

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

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is starry and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another’s. She will be another’s. As she was before my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.

Thank you for indulging me. I hope the last line of the poem will ring true for me.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines. Tomorrow, or hopefully soon, I can move on.

1 Comment

  1. the wrigth poem reading in the wrong time

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