Cien Sonetos de Amor (para La Furia Roja?)

Posted: August 6, 2010 in books
Tags: , , ,

I know many of you have stumbled upon this blog in search for information or what have you for “Los Secretos de La Roja” by Miguel Angel Diaz. Lo siento, the book is also on my wish list, and honestly, I have no idea if it will ever reach shelves of popular bookstores in my part of the world (oh, but please, Fully Booked, please include this in your foreign language shelves). Moreover, I have no idea when I’ll be able to read the book without having to flip through my English-Spanish dictionary.

Ah, once again, I’m kicking myself for not continuing my Spanish lessons and forgetting about 75% of my Spanish vocabulary (the other 25% are retained largely because they are part of my Filipino vocabulary). Here’s a bit of a back story (not that anyone cares): my mom has always pestered me to take up Spanish, largely because it’s part of our heritage. My great-great-great grandfather set off from Spain to the Philippines in the 1800s, and I still have relatives who speak the language fluently.

So finally, in college, I enrolled in several units of Spanish—but of course, I haven’t stumbled past the basics yet. My motivations for re-learning the language are piling up: to appreciate and do a lot more research about my heritage (I want to know where my abuelos came from); to appreciate Spanish movies (yes, I have gone several times to the Spanish film festival in Manila); and to recite Pablo Neruda with much elegance and fluidity (possibly to La Furia Roja? Haha! We can wish).

I’m making amends to all those who stumbled upon my blog, searching for La Roja items, only to find whatever I posted useless—so let’s talk about Pablo Neruda.

I discovered the beauty of Pablo Neruda’s poetry in English Literature class in high school. Of all the poets that we studied, none could ever convey the beauty, power, passion, rawness, gentleness, light, gravity, and depth of love than Pablo Neruda ever did. His wife and muse, Matilde Urrutia, is perhaps the luckiest woman to have ever lived—imagine being immortalized with the most beautiful of words and thoughts. I always thought it would have been much better if I could appreciate his poetry in his native language. I own several books of Pablo Neruda’s poetry, and none is more precious than “Cien Sonetos de Amor”. (It was quite a challenge for me to find a copy of this book in Manila. I was able to get my copy at a bookstore in Glendale.)

Enough rambling. For visitors of this blog looking for information on La Furia Roja, let me be of service to you by posting a few of my favorite Pablo Neruda poems from “Cien Sonetos de Amor”. If you ever bump into any of them in the streets of Madrid or Barcelona or the beaches of Ibiza, these might be a few useful things to say than, “Quiero diez mil de sus bebés!” (Or, just imagine any one of them reciting these lines to you. Really.)


Tengo hambre de tu boca, de tu voz, de tu pelo
y por las calles voy sin nutrirme, callado
no me sostiene el pan, el alba me desquicia,
busco el sonido líquido de tus pies en el día.

Estoy hambriento de tu risa resbalada,
de tus manos color de furioso granero
tengo hambre de la pálida piedra de tus uñas,
quiero comer to piel como una intacta almendra.

Quiero comer el rayo quemado en tu hermosura,
la nariz soberana del arrogante rostro,
quiero comer la sombra fugaz de tus pestañas

y hambriento vengo y voy olfateando el crepúsculo
buscándote, buscando tu corazón caliente
como un puma en la soledad de Quitratúe.

English translation:

I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.

I hunger for your sleek laugh,
your hands the color of a savage harvest,
hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,
I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.

I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,

and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
hunting for you, for your hot heart
like a puma in the barrens of Quitratúe.


No te amo como si fueras rosa del sal, topacio
o flecha de claveles que propagan el fuego:
te amo como se aman ciertas cosas oscuras,
secretamente, entre la sombra y el alma.

Te amo como la planta que no florece y lleva
dentro de sí, escondida, la luz de aquellas flores,
y gracias a tu amor vive oscuro en mi cuero,
el apretado aroma que ascendió de la tierra.

Te amo sin saber cómo, ni cuándo, ni de dónde,
te amo directamente sin problemas ni orgullo:
así te amo porque no sé amar de otra manera,

sino así esta modo en que no soy ni eres,
tan cerca que tu mano sobre mi pecho es mía,
tan cerca que cierran tus ojos con mi sueño.

English translation:

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.


De las estrellas que admiré, mojadas
por ríos y rocíos diferentes,
y no escogí sino la que yo amaba
y desde entonces duermo con la noche.

De la ola, una ola y otra ola,
verde mar, verde frio, rama verde,
yo no escogí sino una sola ola:
la ola indivisible de tu cuerpo.

Todas las gotas, todas las raíces,
todos los hilos de la luz vinieron,
me vinieron a ver tarde o temprano.

Yo quise para mí tu cabellera.
Y de todos los dones de mi patria
sólo escogí tu corazón salvaje.

English translation:

Of all the stars I admired, drenched
in various rivers and mists,
I chose only the one I love.
Since then I sleep with the night.

Of all the waves, one wave and another wave,
green sea, green chill, branchings of green,
I chose only the one wave,
the indivisible wave of your body.

All the waterdrops, all the roots,
all the threads of light gathered to me here;
they came to me sooner or later.

I want your hair, all for myself.
From all the graces my homeland offered
I chose only your savage heart.

  1. blooey says:

    I was lucky to have mooched this book! 😀

    • Mika says:

      Good for you. I remember seeing one copy at any point in time I remembered to hunt for the book back in college. Considering it was P700 bucks or so back then, it was pretty steep. I got mine for $14, I think. Not cheaper. Haha. But heck, it’s Pablo Neruda!

  2. fantaghiro23 says:

    Hello, Mika. Been lurking in your blog for a while now. I’m enjoying your reviews. To prove it, I’ve passed on an award to you.:) You’ll find it here.

    • Mika says:

      Hey, hey! Thanks for the award! (Lord knows when I’ll get the time to pass it on, but I’ll keep it in mind that I have to do it sometime!)

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