POETIC BLOOMINGS READING ROOM #65 – “WHEN I DIE I WANT YOUR HANDS ON MY EYES”

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)

Pablo Neruda was the pen name (and eventually the legal name) of Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto. He was of Chilean birth and had been a poet, diplomat and politician. Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. He wrote in a variety of genres, including surreal, historic, political diatribes, and his works included a prose autobiography, and passionate love poems. His collection, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair (1924) contains some of his best loved love poems. This sonnet featured below, WHEN I DIE I WANT YOUR HANDS ON MY EYES, wishes his love to live on well after his death.


WHEN I DIE I WANT YOUR HANDS ON MY EYES
By Pablo Neruda 	

When I die I want your hands on my eyes:
I want the light and the wheat of your beloved hands
to pass their freshness over me one more time
to feel the smoothness that changed my destiny.

I want you to live while I wait for you, asleep,
I want for your ears to go on hearing the wind,
for you to smell the sea that we loved together
and for you to go on walking the sand where we walked.

I want for what I love to go on living
and as for you I loved you and sang you above everything,
for that, go on flowering, flowery one,

so that you reach all that my love orders for you,
so that my shadow passes through your hair,
so that they know by this the reason for my song.