Monday, March 21, 2011

Love Poems by Pablo Neruda

I may have found a beautiful way to practice my Español.
After catching up over a delicious Sunday brunch, Monica and I browsed at shops all over Williamsburg. In one bookstore, I found this book of wonderful poems by Pablo Neruda. A dear friend once gave me a book of Neruda's poems back in college but after all the moving between continents and all over Manhattan, I've sadly misplaced it. So when I saw this book today, I bought it immediately. It's such a pleasure reading these poems now that I'm reading Spanish with better comprehension. A big part of the beauty Neruda's poetry lies in his choice of words in his mother tongue and I'm grateful that I am able to appreciate that more these days.

It's hard for me to find the motivation to crack open my Spanish grammar books and study, but I couldn't tear my eyes off this book on my subway ride back home. It makes me wonder if the best way for me to learn the language is to read as much as I can. I never paid much attention to my English grammar classes growing up but I ended up eventually making a living as a writer and editor for awhile because my voracious reading must given me a good feel for the language. We'll see ... at the very least, I'll have some dreamy poems to keep me preoccupied on my train rides.

I haven't talked about how I fared with crossing off conversing in Español while in Mexico, have I? That's because I didn't do so well. I broke out the Spanish a few times during our trip: to purchase tickets, ask for directions, to find out what a driver's favorite soccer team is, and to answer the questions of a soldier at the military checkpoint. But I didn't speak more than necessary and never really maintained an actual conversation so as far as I'm concerned, it's not yet a done deal. But I will dredge up the courage—I have exactly 60 days to do it!


  1. I have been reading Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair also by Neruda and I'm amazed how I've learned a bit of Spanish from it.

    (and kept swooning, too).

    60 more days! Wow!

  2. Hi Celine! This is my favorite one, not sure if it's in your book. :)

    Queda Prohibido

    Queda prohibido llorar sin aprender,
    levantarte un día sin saber que hacer,
    tener miedo a tus recuerdos.
    Queda prohibido no sonreír a los problemas,
    no luchar por lo que quieres,
    abandonarlo todo por miedo,
    no convertir en realidad tus sueños.
    Queda prohibido no demostrar tu amor,
    hacer que alguien pague tus deudas y el mal humor.
    Queda prohibido dejar a tus amigos,
    no intentar comprender lo que vivieron juntos,
    llamarles solo cuando los necesitas.
    Queda prohibido no ser tú ante la gente,
    fingir ante las personas que no te importan,
    hacerte el gracioso con tal de que te recuerden,
    olvidar a toda la gente que te quiere.
    Queda prohibido no hacer las cosas por ti mismo,
    tener miedo a la vida y a sus compromisos,
    no vivir cada día como si fuera un ultimo suspiro.
    Queda prohibido echar a alguien de menos sin
    alegrarte, olvidar sus ojos, su risa,
    todo porque sus caminos han dejado de abrazarse,
    olvidar su pasado y pagarlo con su presente.
    Queda prohibido no intentar comprender a las personas,
    pensar que sus vidas valen mas que la tuya,
    no saber que cada uno tiene su camino y su dicha.
    Queda prohibido no crear tu historia,
    no tener un momento para la gente que te necesita,
    no comprender que lo que la vida te da, también te lo quita.
    Queda prohibido no buscar tu felicidad,
    no vivir tu vida con una actitud positiva,
    no pensar en que podemos ser mejores,
    no sentir que sin ti este mundo no sería igual.

    Pablo Neruda

  3. The only rason I know Pablo Neurda is because its Ted's favorite poet on How I Met Your Mother...but I haven't actually read any of his work.

  4. Tara - ohhhh I need to buy that one! My two favorite poems (I Like for You to be Still and Tonight I Can Write the Saddest Lines) are in that one! I know 60 days (well, 58 now). ACK! God help me!
    Sarah - That is beautiful! It's not in my book and I haven't read it before, and it is really lovely. I'll have to keep an eye out for a book with that
    Jessica - haha I love HIMYM! What I really wanna know is, who's Barney's favorite poet?

  5. Celine,
    I can think of no better way to motivate myself to improve my Spanish (except maybe a pen pal or boyfriend) than reading poems by Pablo Neruda! I love the idea of that beautiful little pink book you can slip into your purse and pull out whenever you need a boost.

    Great blog! I'll be reading often!

  6. Thank you Mary! I love your blog and am so happy you've taken an interest in mine :-) This beautiful little book transports me to a whole other world on my dreary subway rides. But I definitely would not be opposed to a passionate Spanish-speaking lover as an alternative!

  7. This is a great idea! I was talking to the checker at a book store and he mentioned that when he was learning spanish he took basic children's books and young adult books to see how well you understand. I'm over that I want to get this book instead. How inspiring!

  8. It is such a lovely book! I showed it to my Spanish teacher and he said it is actually a good book for someone who's learning Spanish. Try it!


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