“I Do Not Love You…”

I have just discovered the amazing poet, Pablo Neruda, and this is the poem that immediately sucked me in.

I do not love you except because I love you

I do no love you except because I love you;

I go from loving to not loving you.

From waiting to not waiting for you

My heart moves from cold to fire.


I love you only because it’s you the one I love;

I hate you deeply, and hating you

Bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you

Is that I do not see you but love blindly.


Maybe January light will consume

My heart with its cruel

Ray, stealing my key to true calm.


Is this part of the story I am the one who

Dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you.

Because I love you, Love, in fire and blood.

The Life That I Have

Why haven’t I heard of Leo Marks before last week? I stumbled across the first stanza of his infamous (so I later discovered – except to those living under a rock as I have) war poem in a literary guide book and I was absolutely blown away. I have always struggled with poetry but in this, albeit an encrypted war poem to aid the resistance against the Nazis, I see the beauty of poetry. Composed by Marks while he worked as a cryptanalyst, it was a message he sent to the French resistance agent Violette Szabo in 1944.

Here is the poem for the uninitiated (although it’s pinched from wikipedia):

The life that I have

Is all that I have

And the life that I have

Is yours


The love that I have

Of the life that I have

Is yours and yours and yours


A sleep I shall have

A rest I shall have

Yet death will be but a pause


For the peace of my years

In the long green grass

Will be yours and yours

And yours


Utterly heartbreaking and yet romantic, is it not?

Beauty is Vain

I’ve never been a big fan of poetry because I’m one of those people who simply ‘don’t get it’. However, one poet I do love is Christina Rossetti who is more well known for Goblin Market and being the sister of painter Dante Rossetti. Here is one of her many poems that sings to me:

Beauty is Vain

Christina Rossetti

While Roses are so red,

While lilies are so white,

Shall a woman exalt her face

Because it gives delight?

She’s not so sweet as a rose,

A lily’s straighter than she,

And if she were as red or white

She’d be but one of three.

Whether she flush in love’s summer

Or in its winter grow pale,

Whether she flaunt her beauty

Or hide it away in a veil,

Be she red or white,

And stand she erect or bowed,

Time will win the race he runs with her

And hide her away in a shroud.

In support of National Poetry Month.

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Sylvia Plath’s Poetry

As an English major, I’m rather ashamed that I find it extremely difficult to like poetry. I have always found poetry difficult to read, understand, interpret and I’m afraid my eyes often glazed over the pages. I also zone out when poetry is read out. Terrible, isn’t it?

However, I picked up a slim volume of selected Sylvia Plath’s poetry and I’m blown away. I think, by George (!), I finally ‘get’ poetry. There is just something simplistic yet ambiguous in Plath’s writing. There is a strong sense of sadness, anger and devastation radiating from her words. Reading these poetry after Plath’s The Bell Jar probably enhanced the effect.

I noted in my review that one of her most moving line was: I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.

I am, I am, I am is a line that Plath reiterates throughout her work. It is reiterated through The Bell Jar in different contexts and each time it has a different meaning.

In her poem Suicide off Egg Rock, Plath writes:

No pit of shadow to crawl into,

And his blood beating the old tattoo

I am, I am, I am.

I just find that breathtaking and I particularly like her continuity. Daddy is her most powerful poem, I think, in that particular volume. Her lines:

I was ten when they buried you.

At twenty I tried to die

And get back, back, back to you.

I thought even the bones would do.

But they pulled me out of the sack,

And they stuck me together with glue.

Of course, with the history and Plath’s biography now widely know, her work now makes it all the more poignant and heartbreaking. However, as much as I’m struck by Plath’s work, I’m not sure how much I am able to read. It’s just far too depressing.