What happens when you peel back the layers of long-lasting love? What do you find when you step outside of the experience of love and examine it from a distance? What does it look like from the sky?
When I read Pablo Neruda’s “100 Love Sonnets: Cien sonetos de amor,” I get the feeling that he traveled to the depths of his soul and to the ends of space as he explored his feelings on love writing to his muse, his wife, Matilde Urrutia.
He tells her at the beginning as translated by Stephen Tapscott, “My beloved wife, I suffered while I was writing these misnamed “sonnets;” they hurt me and caused me grief, but the happiness I feel in offering them to you is vast as a savanna.”
Neruda manages to capture the expansiveness of love, its infinite nature, as he embraces universal elements to give it shape when it truly has no shape.
Here is an excerpt from one of my favorites, “XLVIII.”
Two happy lovers make one bread,
a single moon drop in the grass.
Walking, they cast two shadows that flow together;
Waking, they leave one sun empty in their bed.
Dos amantes dichosos hacen un solo pan,
una sola gota de luna de hierba,
dejan andando dos sombras que se reúnen,
dejan un solo sol vacío en una cama.