Pablo Neruda – I Like It When You’re Silent

Pablo Neruda (July 12, 1904–September 23, 1973)

I like it when you’re silent, for you seem as if you’re gone,
and you hear me from afar, and my voice doesn’t touch you.
It seems as if your eyes had flown away from you—
it seems as if a kiss were sealing shut your mouth.
Since each and every thing is brimming with my soul,
you rise from everything, with my soul replete.
Dreamtime butterfly, you resemble my soul
And you resemble every word that hints at gloom.
I like it when you’re silent and you seem as if you’re distant.
And you whimper soft and low, like a drowsy butterfly.
And you hear me from afar, and my voice doesn’t reach you:
let me hush myself at last with this silence you have brought me.
Let me speak to you as well with your syllables of silence,
As clear as the lamplight, as simple as a ring.
For you are like the night, still and constellated,
Your silence that of stars, so distant and so simple.
I like it when you’re silent, for you seem as if you’re gone,
Painful and distant, as if you were dead.
Then just one word, one smile of yours will do.
And I’m happy, so happy that it is not true.