Pablo Neruda means a lot to me. If you’ve read The Joy of Poetry, you know my parents met in Chile, and that my dad met Neruda.
I found Neruda’s Cien sonetos de amor at a local bishop in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. The day after we returned home was our 25th anniversary of John and I meeting each other. On that blessed day I gave my love … nothing. I wanted to be left alone for some poetry time.
John’s lived with me for a long time. He kindly gave me space. But I’d forgotten he’d be gone that night. When I finally stopped writing, I missed him. So I picked up my Neruda.
If my parents taught me anything, it was to never take your loved one for granted. Neruda was married three times, but I feel sure he would find ways to celebrate an anniversary without working on a stupid laptop.
Yes, Love, we were home that day, and summer had arrived. We traveled to Canada, not Armenia. Sat beside the Kootenai, not the Yang-Tse. Instead of sailing home across the “crackling sea,” we flew home over the Rocky Mountains. We returned to rain — all Memorial Day it rained, and never were the citizens of our drought-stricken agricultural ‘burg so happy. We may have felt like “two blind birds,” but we returned to our nest, to our wall, to our home.
Love, we’re going home now,
where the vines clamber over the trellis:
even before you, the summer will arrive,
on its honeysuckle feet, in your bedroom.
Our nomadic kisses wandered over all the world:
Armenia, dollop of disinterred honey—:
Ceylon, green dove—:and the Yang-Tse with its old
old patience, dividing the day from the night.
And now, dearest, we return, across the crackling sea
like two blind birds to their wall,
to their nest in a distant spring:
because love cannot always fly without resting,
our lives return to the wall, to the rocks of the sea:
our kisses head back home where they belong.
~ Pablo Neruda