Sonnet XVII – Pablo Neruda: Patch Adams

by N. E. Skull

Another beautiful sonnet by another wonderful poet was read to us in the film Patch Adams, the true-story of Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams. In this scene, Patch, a patient-turned-medical student is seen mourning the death of this girlfriend. In her honour, Patch recites part of Pablo Neruda’s Sonnet XVII (Sometimes referred to by it’s first line I Do Not Love You).

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

than this: where I does 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.

- Pablo Neruda

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