mournful, and lyrical, the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda's Veinte
poemas de amor y una canción desesperada (Twenty poems of
Love and a Song of Despair), captures the searing emotions of
young love lost forever. Published in 1924 when Neruda was
only twenty, the book announced the arrival of a great poet.
Writing in a simple, sensual language, Neruda used images from
nature--a mountain, a rose, honey, milk--to describe an erotic
love. He was greatly influenced by the imagery and mysticism
in the work of Rabindranath Tagore and the volume includes a
paraphrase of Tagore's In My Sky at Twilight. The
eroticism in Neruda's poetry was shocking at the time. In
poem after poem, the beloved's body morphs into a forest path, an
untamed jungle; the poet's own emotions are ferocious waves or
howling winds: "I have marked the atlas of your white body
with crosses of fire."
Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto, he took the name Pablo Neruda--a
combination of Paul Verlaine's first name and the Czech poet Jan
Neruda's surname. He wrote voluminously, and also lived a
public political life as a communist and diplomat. Crowds
thronged the streets of Santiago when he passed away in 1973, only
two years after he received the Nobel Prize.
this slim first volume of poetry remains his most exquisite work
and one of the most powerful works of love poetry ever written.
"Tonight I can write the saddest verses. I loved her, and at
times she loved me too."
Veinte Poemas de Amor
Gitanjali, Rabindranath Tagore