Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This collection of poems, first published by Neruda at the age of 19 in 1924, caused something of a scandal because of its frank and intense sexuality:
``I have gone marking the atlas of your body / with crosses of fire. / My mouth went across: a spider, trying to hide. / In you, behind you, timid, driven by thirst.''
It later became one of Neruda's best-loved works, selling two million copies by the 1960s. Why? With image after arresting image, Neruda charts the oceanic movements of passion, repeatedly summoning imagery of the sea and weather:
``On all sides I see your waist of fog, / and your silence hunts down my afflicted hours; / my kisses anchor, and my moist desire nests / in you with your arms of transparent stone.''
As irresistible as the sea, love is engulfing
``You swallowed everything, like distance. / . . . In you everything sank!''
, but also departs as mysteriously as it arrived, leaving the poet's heart a ``pit of debris, fierce cave of the shipwrecked.'' These unabashedly romantic poems, wonderfully translated by Merwin, are illustrated in this edition by the paintings of Jan Thompson Dicks with aptly Fauvist tones and iconic formality. (Dec.)
Read an Excerpt
The Morning is Full
The morning is full of storm in the heart of summer.
The clouds travel like white handkerchiefs of good-bye,
the wind, traveling, waving them in its hands.
The numberless heart of the wind beating above our loving silence.
Orchestral and divine, resounding among the trees like a language full of wars and songs.
Wind that bears off the dead leaves with a quick raid and deflects the pulsing arrows of the birds.
Wind that topples her in a wave without spray and substance without weight, and leaning fires.
Her mass of kisses breaks and sinks,
assailed in the door of the summer's wind.
Es La Mañana Llena
Es la mañana lleno de tempestad en el corazón del verano.
Como pañuelos blancos de adiós las nubes,
el viento las sacude con sus viajeras manos.
Innumerable el corazón del viento latiendo sobre nuestro silencio enamorado.
Zumbando entre los árboles, orquestal y divino,
como una lengua llena de guerras y de cantos.
Viento que lleva rápido robo la hojarasca y desvia las flechas latientes de los parajos.
Viento que le derriba en ola sin espuma y sustancia sin peso, y fuegos inclinados.
Se rompe y se submerge su volumen de besos combatido en la puerta del viento del verano.