Neruda and the Moon Flowers


Quote from  Love Sonnet XVII, in100 Love Sonnets, (Cien sonetos de amor)” by Pablo Neruda, translated by Stephen Tapscott.  Artwork © Judy Valenzuela.


When I start to feel empty or just feel the need to refill the creative well with something fun and easy, I often read poetry and draw and I really love combining the two.  An example of the process is in the quote above, where I’ve illustrated one of the beautiful lines from  Love Sonnet XVII, one of my favorite Pablo Neruda poems.  I’ve drawn white Moon Flowers (Ipomoea alba) which twine around each other, bloom only at night and smell like heaven – a fitting flower, I thought, for this lovely poem.   The pink buds are tiny impatients.  I’ve posted the entire poem below…every line is exquisite.


I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,

or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.

I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,

in secret, between the shadow and the soul.


I love you as the plant that never blooms

but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;

thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,

risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.


I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.

I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;

so I love you because I know no other way


than this.  where I does not exist, nor you,

so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,

so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

– Pablo Neruda

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