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Ode to a Cluster of Violets by Pablo Neruda

Last day of July. It is midnight, I am listening to Silvestri, and thinking of you. The sight of you in bed, your tousled hair like feathers on my pillow. I want to kiss all of your eyelashes. They would feel like tiny wisps of clouds on my lips.

You’re smiling in your sleep. Are you dreaming of me? I am running towards you in a field full of violets, my heart on my sleeve, my hands free to touch the flowers.

Ode to a Cluster of Violets
Pablo Neruda

Crisp cluster
plunged in shadow.
Drops of violet water
and raw sunlight
floated up with your scent.
A fresh
subterranean beauty
climbed up from your buds
thrilling my eyes and my life.

One at a time, flowers
that stretched forward
silvery stalks,
creeping closer to an obscure light
shoot by shoot in the shadows,
till they crowned
the mysterious mass
with an intense weight of perfume
and together
formed a single star
with a far-off scent and a purple center.

Poignant cluster
intimate
scent
of nature,
you resemble
a wave, or a head of hair,
or the gaze
of a ruined water nymph
sunk in the depths.
But up close,
in your fragrance’s
blue brazenness,
you exhale the earth,
an earthly flower, an earthen
smell and your ultraviolet
gleam
in volcanoes’ faraway fires.

Into your loveliness I sink
a weathered face,
a face that dust has often abused.
You deliver
something out of the soil.
It isn’t simply perfume,
nor simply the perfect cry
of your entire color, no: it’s
a word sprinkled with dew,
a flowering wetness with roots.

Fragile cluster of starry
violets,
tiny, mysterious
planet
of marine phosphorescence,
nocturnal bouquet nestled in green leaves:
the truth is
there is no blue word to express you.

Better than any word
is the pulse of your scent.

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