Simplicity of love

I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

(Pablo Neruda,One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII)


You are not the maple syrup, sticky sweet,
nor bitterness of hops, you are smooth and round
my cushion, a companion through the icy nights,
your breath is fire, and you words are flint.
You are not brittle like a butterfly.
You are not a gentle sigh, the soft contrast
of brushstrokes on a whitewashed wall.
You are my soil, my path, overgrown and soft
from rain, a leaf that cling to branches, last
I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,

or bedsheet silk, linen, still cool with night.
I don’t love you like a symphony, or a cello.
There is no spreadsheet logic, nor perfume
my love contains no subpoena secrets, or a truth
of hidden recipes for Sunday breakfast pancakes.
My love is welded, strong, a gneiss desire
it is quartz and flesh, a chili slowly cooked,
a smell of creosote, it is summer sun and icicles
I don’t love as if you were a violet in iron
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:

You are the pause between my heartbeats,
the moment just before I wake in dreams.
You are the fish, you are the eagle’s talon
gripping rattlesnakes, you are the eye of owls,
the wave a breeze will stir in a wheat-field in July.
I am the snake and I’ve loved you ever since
we stood freezing on the pier in January rain,
embraced with winds of harbor salt, in smell of wool
and there untuned, a suite for subtle strings
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,

almost shameful, like a childhood memory
kept too long, ripe and sweet like plums
stolen from a neighbor’s tree, an angry voice
still cursing in me for innocence of the thefts.
You are loud like whispers at a crowded cafe
or a Sunday morning on my sidewalk stroll
when I proudly show the coat I just have bought.
You are my midnight tears and laughter:
I love you densely like an emptiness, a hole
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

Abstract composition by Erich Buchholz

Abstract composition by Erich Buchholz



Today Gayle host Open Link Night at dVerse, and you bring whatever poem you like. This is a glosa I write from four lines of Sonnet from Pablo Neruda. Also linked to Real Toads Tuesday platform.

October 15, 2015

56 responses to “Simplicity of love

  1. What a wonderful expression! The one who is the recipient of these beautiful words is truly lucky.

    Thank you for visiting me at poetryofthenetherworld dot blogspot dot com.

  2. Lovely write, Björn – the glosa looks a most interesting form – perhaps I can tempt my muse to return with one….

  3. Superb, even in its “drafty” state, rife with the feel/soul of Neruda, yet it’s all Rudberg, lusty, romantic, kind of a Woody Guthrie Great Plains ballad feel to it, very Americana in its way. I like the line /the wave the breeze will stir in a wheat field in July/.

  4. Neruda is one of my favorites, so it’s a treat to read your glosa ~ Very sensual feast, with your own lines sharpening the shades of love and passion ~ This line is my favorite:
    You are the pause between my heartbeats,
    the moment just before I wake in dreams.

  5. This is sublime. “you are the pause between my heartbeats:..” What a wonderful romantic line. You make the glosa look so easy. Sensual and yes, romantic. I’ve used that word a lot but this is breathtaking.

  6. What a beautiful tribute to your love, Bjorn. You were very inclusive in covering all the ways and hows of loving someone. I’ll have to look into the form…have not tried this one.

  7. I love it, Bjorn, though I can see where you might want to tighten it up a bit. It has urgency, melancholy, weight. All the imges you include are real, i can feel them and thus relate to this undefinable love. The stanza that spoke to me the most is:

    You are the pause between my heartbeats,
    the moment just before I wake in dreams.
    You are the fish, you are the eagle’s talon
    gripping rattlesnakes, you are the eye of owls,
    the wave a breeze will stir in a wheat-field in July.
    I am the snake and I’ve loved you ever since
    we stood freezing on the pier in January rain,
    embraced with winds of harbor salt, in smell of wool
    and there untuned, a suite for subtle strings
    I love you as one loves certain obscure things

  8. Björn, this is brilliant. Truly, your work parallels the great poets of the past. Excellent work using contrast… For example, you are vs you are not. Also, contrasts within the metaphors. So impressive.

  9. I really like the contrast between what ‘you are’ and what ‘you are not.’ I am impressed with the length of your piece, Bjorn! Really well penned!

  10. Wow! Your recital here is astounding. This is such an endearing piece and I admire your word choice and flow immensely.

    I’ve never heard of a glosa, so I will have to look it up. Thanks for sharing!

  11. You inspired me with this poem… to research the “glosa” form (very interesting….would be a great prompt!) but mostly because of the flow of aesthetic phrases. I especially like …
    “You are loud like whispers at a crowded cafe”

  12. “You are my soil, my path, overgrown and soft
    from rain, a leaf that cling to branches, last”

    Absolutely beautiful and heart warming piece…looks like a great day ahead with such a great read in the morning.

  13. This form weaves a beautiful story here – full of love with autumn specks in between. Neruda is one of the few people I have actually read from and you chose a brilliant sonnet!

  14. Great use of Neruda’s lines to create a poem that seeks to do away with facile sensousness and wishy-washy romanticism, and ends up being irresistably grounded and beautiful.

  15. This is stunning! These are my favorites:

    “You are my soil, my path, overgrown and soft
    from rain, a leaf that cling to branches, last”

    “My love is welded, strong, a gneiss desire
    it is quartz and flesh, a chili slowly cooked”

    “You are the pause between my heartbeats,
    the moment just before I wake in dreams.”

    “You are the fish, you are the eagle’s talon
    gripping rattlesnakes, you are the eye of owls,
    the wave a breeze will stir in a wheat-field in July.
    I am the snake and I’ve loved you ever since”

    “almost shameful, like a childhood memory
    kept too long, ripe and sweet like plums”

    “You are loud like whispers … I proudly show the coat I just have bought” … This, to me, is the most important point. The coat represents the woman you love, and you’re proud to show her off, even if she behaves in ways that are atypical or inappropriate. This is every woman’s (actually, human’s) greatest desire: to have someone love them FOR their worst traits, not in spite of them. My husband loves me, but I know I make him cringe often with what comes out of my mouth. It would be nice to know that every part of me were loved, not endured.

    I also love the contrast in “loud like whispers” … Whispers at a crowded cafe wouldn’t be heard … ooh, okay, it’s this: when you’re somewhere loud and you want to whisper something that won’t be heard by everyone, you lean over and whisper in the person’s ear; but because your mouth is so close to their ear, it seems to them like you’re speaking very loudly, even though you’re really not … that’s what this means. But you don’t even care if others hear; you’re just so happy to be with her … no matter how she acts. Man, that sounds nice. Such a relief. I mean, not realistic; it’s just not human nature. We all judge each other, and way too much. But it would be sublime to be in love with someone who treasured every part of you. That’s just not how it works out, though.

    The ending is my absolute favorite; I adore this:
    “You are my midnight tears and laughter:
    I love you densely like an emptiness, a hole
    secretly, between the shadow and the soul.”

    • Oh thank you.. it’s amazing what you can find when you start to think about the amazing texts of Neruda.. there is something so very stunning in his four lines (from the sonnet) so it’s just bubbles forth.

  16. This is fantastic, Bjorn! Enjoyed your audio interpretation too (just a note: cello is pronounce “chello” and suite sounds like “sweet”) 🙂

  17. Intriguing. I find myself lingering on the words and yet your prose pulls me along to the very end. Washing over the reader the last beautiful lines. And you pull us into the density of your love.

  18. I defy any woman who is not completely bowled over by this magnificent poem – and whoever she is, she is a very fortunate woman to have a man who can express his emotion so beautifully.

    Listening to you read the words was an experience in itself, which made me smile and pause in the wonder of the English language read in your unique accent.
    Many thanks for sharing, Bjorn.

  19. Thanks to Kerry I didn’t miss your recitation. This is the most moving love poem I’ve ever read (or heard read). You were mightily inspired by Neruda’s sumptuous words.

  20. Very beautiful, right up there with the best love poems ever written – which is quite an accomplishment when you have dared to elaborate on the great Neruda. 🙂

  21. ‘a gneiss desire..’–just a small shiny nugget that caught my eye in this rich pour of words–this is a superlative love poem, and the lines from Neruda that spark it are totally at home in it, which there can be no higher complement, as he is a genius–a word I don;t use lightly–in the field of love poetry(and poetry in general.) Really spectacular glosa, Bjorn–a pinnacle of the form.

  22. This is my third (or fourth) visit to (and multiple readings) of this magnificent glosa and – what can I say: words fail. Really a person could write a dissertation on all the various elements of the piece and how they work together. That said: the contrast of what your love is, pinned against the idealized/romanticized paragon of love is an inspired device with which you launch a cascade of phenomenal metaphors and images that surprise and enchant the reader. This was a pleasure to read – many times … your reading, as well – a treat! Thank you.

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