These are among my favorites of Pablo Neruda poetry:
You are the daughter of the sea, oregano’s first cousin.
Swimmer, your body is pure as the water;
cook, your blood is quick as the soil.
Everything you do is full of flowers, rich with the earth.
Your eyes go out toward the water, and the waves rise;
your hands go out to the earth and the seeds swell;
you know the deep essence of water and the earth,
conjoined in you like a formula for clay.
Naiad: cut your body into turquoise pieces,
they will bloom resurrected in the kitchen.
This is how you become everything that lives.
And so at last, you sleep, in the circle of my arms
that push back the shadows so that you can rest–
vegetables, seaweed, herbs: the foam of your dreams.
Ode to a Beautiful Nude
With a chaste heart
With pure eyes
I celebrate your beauty
Holding the leash of blood
So that it might leap out and trace your outline
Where you lie down in my Ode
As in a land of forests or in surf
In aromatic loam, or in sea music
Equally beautiful your feet
Arched by primeval tap of wind or sound
Your ears, small shells
Of the splendid American sea
Your breasts of level plentitude
Fulfilled by living light
Your flying eyelids of wheat
Revealing or enclosing
The two deep countries of your eyes
The line your shoulders have divided into pale regions
Loses itself and blends into the compact halves of an apple
Continues separating your beauty down into two columns of
To sink into the two grapes of your feet
Where your twin symmetrical tree burns again and rises
A swelling fruit
Over the pact of sea and earth
From what materials
Did your body come together?
Swelling like baking bread to signal silvered hills
The cleavage of one petal
Sweet fruits of a deep velvet
Until alone remained
The fine and firm feminine form
It is not only light that falls over the world spreading inside your body
Yet suffocate itself
So much is clarity
Taking its leave of you
As if you were on fire within
The moon lives in the lining of your skin
Listen to Rufus Sewell’s reading of Ode to a Beautiful Nude
Don’t you just love Pablo Neruda? 😉