Sonnet Xvii

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.

by Pablo Neruda

Comments (2)

i hadn't read this poem nor heard of St. Alphonsus till a moment ago. i like that hopkins gives an alternative view to the way the world usually sees things. i see similarities to another sonnet, milton's on his blindness. -glen kappy
Alphonsus fought personal battles against failure, loss, temptation, and disease. He was more like us in his ordinariness and suffering. And he showed us how to be faithful to God throughout long spiritual and personal struggles. Alphonsus’s early years in Segovia, Spain, are a story of tragedies. When he was fourteen, his father died and he left school to help his mother run the family business. At twenty-three he married, but his wife died in childbirth three years later. Within a few years his mother and son also died. On top of this, his business was failing, so he sold it. Recognizing a late vocation to religious life, he applied for admission to the Jesuits at Segovia, but was refused because he was not educated. Undaunted, Alphonsus returned to Latin school, humbly bearing the ridicule of his adolescent classmates. Finally, in 1571, the Jesuit provincial accepted him as a lay brother. He was sent to Montesione College on Majorca, where he served as doorkeeper for forty-five years. His post allowed him to minister to many visitors. And he became the spiritual adviser to many students. He exerted wide-reaching influence. [http: //] To get through his troubles and trials, Alphonsus stuck to a few simple spiritual guidelines that navigated him through his troubles and trials. For example, as a method for finding joy in hardship, he tried to imitate Christ, sharing in spirit all His sufferings. He tried to consider how much he owed Him and what He has done for Alphonsus. He would tell himself “What does it matter, my God, that I should endure for your love these small hardships? For you, Lord, endured so many great hardships for me.” In that way he encouraged himself to endure for love of the Lord until I make what is bitter sweet.. - - - - - - Yet God (that hews mountain and continent, Earth, all, out; who, with trickling increment, Veins violets and tall trees makes more and more) Could crowd career with conquest while there went Those years and years by without event That in Majorca Alfonso watched the door.