Sonnet XVII – Pablo Neruda: Patch Adams

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

10 thoughts on “Sonnet XVII – Pablo Neruda: Patch Adams

  1. Thank you for sharing this poem and for stopping by my blog, I find romantic and love poems to be one of the hardest themes to truely capture authentically. Neruda does this wonderfully. I look forward to checking out your personal poetry too!

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  4. Rosemary, September 22, 2019

    Yes, she is gone, though call her name I do
    Each night. Each day, the flower dies anew,
    The sun does not come up the way it used to.
    The time’s awry, I’ve lost the pylon cue

    Of where to turn, or where to go. She did die
    And where she is is what God is. To cry, sigh
    Or brave it through remains my daily why?
    My life, the stone my heart’s become: to ply

    My life, my writes, the cats, the teaching chore,
    The sons and daughters, all who are my more—
    The mental stacks that are my lifetime’s lore—
    All other lives from each far, far, far shore.

    All drown me in the wave that’s Rosemary
    Whose gone-ness guides me guides me guides me.


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