National Poetry Month, Pablo Neruda, poetry, Spring Fever

Why Poetry and Spring Fever go Together

Pablo Neruda

Love abounds in poetry and spring, so the theme of today’s post is romantic poetry. “Romance poetry” has become synonymous with love, passion, intimacy, yearning, loneliness, and sometimes insanity. 
Celebrating National Poetry Month in spring is appropo. After all, “spring fever,” that biological phenomenon makes its appearance during this month.
            “There’s an illness that has been documented by poets for centuries. Its symptoms include a flushed face, increased heart rate, appetite loss, restlessness and daydreaming. It’s spring fever, that wonderfully amorphous disease we all recognize come April and May.” (Scientific American)
Whether this phenomenon is fact or fiction is still a little fuzzy, but we all know that the days get warmer, we have more sunlight for longer hours, and our mood generally improves. 
During week two of National Poetry Month I chose two of my favorite poems by Pablo Neruda, the Nobel Prize winning Chilean poet who was called the Picasso of Poetry–an apt description of words as art.
A poem is a beautiful vehicle to express the intimacy of love. The particular arrangement of words allows us to feel emotion more fully, often in one intimate line. Neruda’s poems are especially evocative of intimacy. 

Love Sonnet XI

I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.
I hunger for your sleek laugh,
your hands the color of a savage harvest,
hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,
I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.
I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,
and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
hunting for you, for your hot heart,
like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.

                                                                    SONNET XVII
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
that this: where I do not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

To instill spring fever into your week, find a poem to share with your loved ones. If these poems resonate with you I challenge you to select a few lines or the whole poem and write it out on a card, or post-it, and put it where your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend can find it. Do something different to start out this week and put a smile on someone’s face. 

Try this:
Or go with a one liner: 

Now what will you do this week to celebrate National Poetry Month and jump into Spring Fever?