I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees


Every day you play with the light of the universe.
Subtle visitor, you arrive in the flower and the water.
You are more than this white head that I hold tightly
as a cluster of fruit, every day, between my hands.

You are like nobody since I love you.
Let me spread you out among yellow garlands.
Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south?
Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed.

Suddenly the wind howls and bangs at my shut window.
The sky is a net crammed with shadowy fish.
Here all the winds let go sooner or later, all of them.
The rain takes off her clothes.

The birds go by, fleeing.
The wind. The wind.
I can contend only against the power of men.
The storm whirls dark leaves
and turns loose all the boats that were moored last night to the sky.

You are here. Oh, you do not run away.
You will answer me to the last cry.
Cling to me as though you were frightened.
Even so, at one time a strange shadow ran through your eyes.

Now, now too, little one, you bring me honeysuckle,
and even your breasts smell of it.
While the sad wind goes slaughtering butterflies
I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth.

How you must have suffered getting accustomed to me,
my savage, solitary soul, my name that sends them all running.
So many times we have seen the morning star burn, kissing our eyes,
and over our heads the gray light unwind in turning fans.

My words rained over you, stroking you.
A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body.
I go so far as to think that you own the universe.
I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells,
dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.

I want
to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.

This one line can mean so many things to different people. I quoted it to my husband today and his first interpretation of it was just perfect:

Me: I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.
Him: Blossom? That’s from a poem by Neruda.
Yes! Blossom…it was perfect. A phrase that can be left to interpretation was translated by him into exactly how I meant it. It did raise my curiosity about how others read into it and I found that most people had a very romanticized notion of what it meant. Here are some examples of other people’s understanding of those lines:
To make her blush!
I have always read that line as the most extraordinary metaphor for sensuality, awakening, sexuality, the magic of transformation.
For me it’s Acceptance, Ripening, Sexuality, Eternal Love
spring ripens the cherry spring blossoms the cherry and therefore Neruda love will open up this untouched virgin unknown space inside his lover
Cherry trees’ flowers blossom on spring. The flower opens for the first time and the pollen inside falls to the bottom of the tree creating an effect such that it seems as it snowed. It doesn’t necessarily mean there is one first time. The true lover can and will make each time as if it were the first. The beauty of poetry lies in the subjectivity created from each individuals experiences. 
It’s amazing how the same lines could have different meaning for different people. When I read the lines ‘I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees’ for the first time (and I just read this line, not the complete poem), I interpreted it as that the poet wants to make his lover the happiest person in the universe. That he wants to take away all the sorrow from her and gift her a new wonderful life.

6 thoughts on “I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees

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