Cien Sonetos de Amor

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100 Love Sonnets
Neruda 100 love sonnets.jpg
Cover of Stephen Tapscott's English translation of Cien sonetos de amor
Author Pablo Neruda
Original title Cien sonetos de amor
Translator Stephen Tapscott
Country United States
Language English
Series Latin American Literature and Culture
Genre Poetry
Publisher University of Texas Press
Publication date
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 222
ISBN ISBN 0-292-76028-0

Cien sonetos de amor ("100 Love Sonnets") is a collection of sonnets written by the Chilean poet and Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda originally published in Argentina in 1959. Dedicated to his beloved wife (at the time), Matilde Urrutia, it is divided into the four stages of the day: morning, afternoon, evening, and night.

The sonnets have been translated into English numerous times by various scholars. The most widely acclaimed English translation was made by Stephen Tapscott and published in 1986.[citation needed] In 2004, Gustavo Escobedo translated the 100 sonnets for the 100th anniversary of Neruda’s birth.

Sonnet VI[edit]

Lost in the forest, I broke off a dark twig
and lifted its whisper to my thirsty lips:
maybe it was the voice of the rain crying,
a cracked bell, or a torn heart.

Something from far off: it seemed
deep and secret to me, hidden by the earth,
a shout muffled by huge autumns,
by the moist half-open darkness of the leaves.

Wakening from the dreaming forest there, the hazel-sprig
sang under my tongue, its drifting fragrance
climbed up through my conscious mind

as if suddenly the roots I had left behind
cried out to me, the land I had lost with my childhood—
and I stopped, wounded by the wandering scent.

– Translated by Stephen Tapscott[1]


Dedication: To Matilde Urrutia (October 1959)[edit]

Morning / Mañana (Sonnets 1–32)[edit]

  1. Matilde: the name of a plant, or a rock, or a wine
  2. Love, what a long way, to arrive at a kiss
  3. Bitter love, a violet with its crown
  4. You will remember that leaping stream
  5. I did not hold your night, or your air, or the dawn
  6. Lost in the forest, I broke off a dark twig
  7. Come with me, I said, and no one knew
  8. If your eyes were not the color of the moon
  9. There where the waves shatter on the restless rocks
  10. This beauty is soft – as if music and wood
  11. I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair
  12. Full woman, flesh-apple, hot moon
  13. The light that rises from your feet to you hair,
  14. I don’t have time enough to celebrate your hair.
  15. The earth has known you for a long time now:
  16. I love the handful of the earth you are.
  17. I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
  18. You move through the mountain like a breeze,
  19. While the huge seafoam of Isla Negra,
  20. My ugly love, you’re a messy chestnut.
  21. If only love would spread its savor through me!
  22. Love, how often I loved you without seeing—
  23. The fire for light, a rancorous moon for bread,
  24. Love, love, the clouds went up the tower of the sky
  25. Before I loved you, Love, nothing was my own:
  26. Neither the color of Iquique’s awesome dunes,
  27. Naked, you are simple as one of your hands,
  28. Love, from seed to seed, from planet to planet,
  29. You came from poverty, from the houses of the South,
  30. You have the thick hair of a larch from the archipelago,
  31. Little queen of my bones, I crown you
  32. The house this morning—with its truths

Afternoon / Mediodía (Sonnets 33–53)[edit]

  1. Love, we’re going home now,
  2. You are the daughter of the sea, oregano’s first cousin,
  3. Your hand flew from my eyes into the day.
  4. My heart, queen of the beehive and the barnyard,
  5. O love, O crazy sunbeam and purple premonition,
  6. Your house sounds like a train at noon:
  7. But I forgot that your hands fed the roots,
  8. It was green, the silence; the light was moist;
  9. January rough times, when the indifferent
  10. Radiant days rolling on the water, intense as the inside
  11. I hunt for a sign of you in all the others,
  12. You must know that I do not love and that I love you,
  13. Don’t go far off, not even for a day, because—
  14. Of all the stars I admired, drenched
  15. I want to look back and see you in the branches.
  16. Two happy lovers make one bread,
  17. It’s today: all of yesterday dropped away
  18. Cotapos says your laughter drops
  19. Your laugh: it reminds me of a tree
  20. You sing, and your voice peels the husk
  21. Here are the bread—the wine—the table—the house:

Evening / Tarde (54–78)[edit]

  1. Luminous mind, bright devil
  2. Thorns, shattered glass, sickness, crying: all day
  3. Get used to seeing the shadow behind me, accept
  4. They’re liars, those who say I lost the moon,
  5. Among the broadswords of literary iron
  6. Poor unlucky poets: whom both life and death
  7. Those who wanted to wound me wounded you,
  8. Love dragged its tail of pain,
  9. Woe is me, woe is us, my dearest:
  10. I walked: not only through the wasteland where the
  11. My life was tinted purple by so much love,
  12. Matilde, where are you? Down there I noticed,
  13. I do not love—except because I love you:
  14. The great rain from the South falls on Isla Negra
  15. The girl made of wood didn’t come here on foot;
  16. Maybe nothingness is to be without your presence,
  17. Maybe—through I do not bleed—I am wounded,
  18. Love crosses its islands, from grief to grief,
  19. My love, winter returns to its billet,
  20. Maybe you’ll remember that razor-faced man
  21. Wet with the waters of August, the road
  22. Here are the houses, the sea, the flag.
  23. With the patience of a bear, Diego Rivera
  24. Today is today, with the weight of all past time,
  25. I have no never-again, I have no always. In the sand

Night / Noche (Sonnets 79-100)[edit]

  1. By night, Love, tie your heart to mine, and the two
  2. My love, I returned from travel and sorrow
  3. And now you’re mine. Rest with your dreams in my dream.
  4. As we close this nocturnal door, my love,
  5. It’s good to feel you close in the night, Love,
  6. Once again, Love, the day’s net extinguishes
  7. The vague fog flows from the sea towards the streets
  8. O Southern Cross, O clover of fragrant phosphorous:
  9. Three birds of the sea, three sunbeams, three scissors
  10. March returns with its secretive light,
  11. When I die, I want your hands on my eyes:
  12. I thought I was dying, I felt the cold up close
  13. Age covers us like drizzle;
  14. My love, if I die and you don’t—,
  15. If some time your breast pauses, if something stops
  16. If I die, survive me with such a pure force
  17. Whoever loved as we did? Let us hunt
  18. I think this time when you loved me
  19. These days, one must fly—but where to?
  20. And this word, this paper the thousand hands
  21. Other days will come, the silence
  22. In the center of the earth I will push aside

In popular culture[edit]

  • In Tom Shadyac's 1998 movie Patch Adams, Sonnet XVII is used in different stages of the film, most notably in the climatic funeral scene.
  • Sonnet XII is referenced in the 2002 Deepa Mehta film Bollywood/Hollywood when Rahul first meets Sue/Sunita in the bar, and later when he recites the poem in order to win the heroine in a Romeo and Juliet-esque balcony scene.
  • Sonnet XXVII is recited and referenced in The Naked Man episode in the 4th series of How I Met Your Mother.


  1. ^ Tapscott, Stephen. 100 Love Sonnets. Cien sonetos de amor, Austin: University of Texas Press, Texas Pan American Series, 1986, p. 17