Publisher: University of Texas Press; 9th.PAPERBACK PRINTING edition (1986)
Language: English, Spanish
By: Diane Sahms-Guarnieri
Sonnets ninety-three and ninety-four are about two extremes in life – love and death.
Briefly before you read these sonnets, it is of some interest to know that Pablo Neruda wrote some of his most famous love poems while in France on a scholarship to study French literature. According to Alastair Reid,* it was in France that Neruda moved from the isolation of Chile into an artist’s underworld of close friendships, night long conversations, and passionate sexual love at which time he discovered the poems of Rimbaud and Baudelaire.
So, while living in France, with a head full of Rimbaud and Baudelaire, this angst-ridden, twenty year old, romantic poet experienced sex and relationships with women for the first time, writing love poems that were “remarkable in their erotic intensity, in their startling sensual directness, and in their fresh extravagance of imagery.”(Reid) These erotic love poems appeared as his second book, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair. My favorite poem from this collection is Body of a Woman, because of its descriptive imagery and extremely sensual, but tender language that is probably more fitting for young people, as it was written by a younger Neruda.
It wasn’t until thirty years later when an older, more mature Pablo Neruda, in his early 50s, met Matilde Urrutia and wrote 100 Love Sonnets for her. She became his third wife and Neruda lived the remaining years of his life with her in lsla Negra, a seaside village on the Pacific coast of Chile. Pablo died in 1974, twelve years before Matilde.
Sonnets 93 and 94 are a couplet so to speak, like Pablo Neruda and Matilde Urrutia.
If some time your breast pauses, if something stops
moving, stops burning through your veins,
if the voice in your mouth escapes without becoming word,
Matilde my love, leave your lips half-open:
because that final kiss should linger with me,
it should stay still, forever, in your mouth,
so that it goes with me, too, in my death.
I will die kissing your crazy cold mouth,
caressing the lost buds of your body,
looking for the light of your closed eyes.
And so when the earth received our embrace
we will go blended in a single death, forever
living the eternity of a kiss.
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