“El amor como la resina”: Pablo Neruda’s “Física”

Well, it’s the end of February, which means this is the last entry in my series of sexy poems by photo (56)dead poets. It’s been fun — let me know in the comments if you think I should try this again next February, or something different?

Neruda is over-anthologized when it comes to love poems, but here’s one that’s less well known. I cannot find the full text of this poem anywhere online, so here it is in the original Spanish, with my (very humble) translation following.

Física

El amor como la resina
de un árbol colmado de sangre
cuelga su extraño olor a germen
del embeleso natural:
entra el mar en el extremismo
o la noche devoradora
se desploma el alma en ti mismo,
suenan dos campanas de hueso
y no sucede sino el peso
de tu cuerpo otra vez vacío.

Physics

Love, like the resin
of a tree, overflowing with blood
suspends its strange scent over the bud
of spontaneous ecstasy:
the sea enters us in the last extremity,
or the devouring night
collapses your soul into itself,
two bells of bone ring out,
and nothing follows except the weight
of your body, hollow again.

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3 thoughts on ““El amor como la resina”: Pablo Neruda’s “Física”

  1. That’s a wonderful translation (well, as spoken by someone with now almost non-existent Spanish ability…I think I may have translated Neruda poems once long ago in Spanish class…)!

    Yes, this was a wonderful series. Do do it again!

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