Letter to Neruda

You have been my woman’s lover now for
seven years, ever since your two souls met
at La Isla Negra. Yes, I have known
about your assignations for some time,
your breakfast tête-à-têtes, your late-night trysts,

midday intermezzos punctuated
by wine and passionate exclamation.
I have unearthed your letters, your amorous
affirmations secreted in her books,
your verses excerpted in diaries.

I beg of you: Release her captive heart.
You have no need of her, your mistresses
surround you, innumerable are your
conquests. And I – I have only her. She
fills my soul, without her I am empty.

I love her, and sometimes in her absent
eyes I see the flash of remembrance – and
I think sometimes she might still love me too.
But I have not your art, nor scope. Passion
flows like torrents from your pen, where

they are quenched from my own. You are a force
of nature, an earthquake, a hurricane.
And I am left to woo her with nothing
but my shopworn metaphors, my contrived
rhymes, my incompetent pentameter.

So I have gathered for you this ransom,
one hundred and forty poems, all I have.
I have packed them in my well-worn suitcase,
in verses of small denominations.
Take them. Only tell her you will see her

no more, that your art is for another,
that you will always cherish your moments
together. Then unbind her hands, loose her
blindfold, let her run back to me – back to
my waiting heart, inadequate but true.


  1. Oh, see, I disagree... and my guess is she does, too... You are there, and he is on some (might I add "artificial") pedestal... No, you are definitely mistaken.

  2. Excellent. Thank you. I have been reading the Love Poems of Neruda to Courtney (melancR) almost daily for the last three weeks. Wonderful. dk

  3. well.........the power of words is inmense....a great weapon to conquer a woman´s heart....but not all...:)(Neruda was a passionate man that had several lovers...but I think his principal love was Matilde Urrutia)

  4. Interesting angle for a homage poem, so much better than the standard, you have taken immediate love and paralleled it with your love of Nerude. If anyone had a chance of winning back a lover from Pablo, it is you. This piece has leapt into my favourites list, well done Sam.

  5. A most impressive pen!

  6. You give reverence to the poet, Neruda, by recognizing the love your woman feels for his poetry. I suspect the living, breathing poet who loves her, holds the key to her heart for the same reason, and more. Wonderfully written!!

  7. I have no idea what the other commenters are referring to, but that doesn't matter!

    You have taken what I thought were my secret feelings about of love and passion and relayed them back to me, more vividly and powerfully than before!

    Your writing makes me feel that I am not alone, that some else sees the world as I do.

  8. I am so glad others feel a connection to this poem, because it is one of my personal favourites.

    Many of my poems are of 'imagined lives', so to speak. I imagine people in situations, and try to give their thoughts and feelings some dimension. But this poem gives dimension to my own personal feelings and emotions.

    As well, I love this poem because it is at the same time a love poem, an ars poetica, and a tribute to the literary hurricane that is Pablo Neruda. Somehow, after days of blood and ink, it all worked.

  9. I am reminded of "Il Postino" and "Cyrano" ... literary hurricane indeed! Beautiful, beautiful piece!

  10. Blue Roses2:29:00 AM

    This Letter is exquisite, Samuel.

    Poetry has been my lover for most of my life making that first line an instant and commanding draw.


  11. Thanks so much for the kindness...

    Short link - http://bit.ly/s4letneruda

  12. Through his words, Neruda has many mistresses - as do you

  13. Gorgeous piece. Moved and touched me, and yes, reminded me of "Il Postino", too...

  14. This is my kind of love poem...honest, painful, raw yet so beautifully weaved...just a fantastic write!

  15. A truly beautiful write...I feel it in my heart..'And I - I have only her'...glorious..

  16. You prove your own assertion here that all the best poems are metaphors--this one is striking to any poet's heart--verse of small denominations just did it for me--it's hard to compete with Neruda, but I think you gave him at least a run for the money.

  17. lol...yeah neruda has that power for sure...he even swoons me every now and then...and you know...bird in hand is better than one in a book...smiles....

  18. Amazingly well sung and crafted story, whose psychological insight is only matched by your mastery of our souls with its passionate, muted sorrow. I love the way you've turned this lover's torment into music, so subtly captured every sigh, a masterfully painted story of undying love.

  19. Tickled at your wit and impressed with your craft!

  20. Such fun wit indeed, a wonderful verse the you gave and yeah words can help out time and time again. Helping many a men and women.

  21. Exquisite use of words. Very stylish. For me- this piece gave a real sense of unrequited love- but also maybe of waning self confidence- like someone who feels they are not worthy of another's love- that they cannot stand up to the passion and then personality of the one they yearn for. And because of this- this told a very poignant story. As ever- your form and placement of words is just expert.

  22. wow...this is awesome sam.. i understand her..neruda's poetry is to die for...but i just love the honest and humble voice of the one who loves her..

  23. Beautifully written homage to the great Neruda ... how better to honour him?

  24. Anonymous6:06:00 AM

    beautiful Samuel..I too make up scenarios in my head of people and like to write about them!

  25. Anonymous6:02:00 PM

    and yet you forget the muse who
    inspired this very poem in you, Sam

  26. The master poet and his craft--Samuel Peralta. Long live Neruda; long live Peralta.

  27. This is GLORIOUS, Sam! Loved every line....such a tale, so well told. Thanks for your comment re my Canto - my pleasure! Intriguing form. I seem to have lost an email address for you.......

  28. Anonymous11:35:00 PM

    This is just wonderful, Sam. One of my favorites of yours. I love the idea of verses of any denomination. k.

  29. Sam, this is an exquisitely personal poem. And Neruda is perhaps my favorite poet, so the idea of someone being completely under his spell, well, I'm there. Your "verses in small denominations," as paying a ransom with unmarked, non-sequential bills, marvelous! Your love of Neruda's work shows through, but also your own genius. I love, love, love this! Amy

  30. Yes, what everyone else said. :)

  31. I think I'd rather have this poem written for me than read Neruda....which would mean that I read Neruda, which I do....a conundrum!


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