My Favorite Pablo Neruda Poem

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.

Here’s the original Spanish version:

Tengo hambre de tu boca, de tu voz, de tu pelo
y por las calles voy sin nutrirme, callado,
no me sostiene el pan, el alba me desquicia,
busco el sonido líquido de tus pies en el día.

Estoy hambriento de tu risa resbalada,
de tus manos color de furioso granero,
tengo hambre de la pálida piedra de tus uñas,
quiero comer tu piel como una intacta almendra.

Quiero comer el rayo quemado en tu hermosura,
la nariz soberana del arrogante rostro,
quiero comer la sombra fugaz de tus pestañas

y hambriento vengo y voy olfateando el crepúsculo
buscándote, buscando tu corazón caliente
como un puma en la soledad de Quitratúe.

“I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.” Beautiful. No one can describe obsessive lust quite like Pablo Neruda. I bet he wouldn’t mind sniffing your morning breath in the morning, either. Heck, he’d probably even write an ode to it. Oda al olor fétido que es tu respiración.

Last 5 posts by bam


Bam has been reading romance novels since she was 9 years old. She especially enjoyed the Sweet Valley High series, particularly the romance-centric ones. Her first real romance novel was "Perfect Partners" by Jayne Ann Krentz. She's obsessed with old-school Harlequin Romance novels and reads four or five a week.

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3 Responses

  1. Oh, I do love Neruda!

    Thanks for posting this.

  2. Queen B says:

    That’s so hot. I have a thing for the crazy boys. I recently read a book where hero tells the heroine he wants to set her on fire and eat her heart (paraphrasing) and I’m almost ashamed by how hot I found that.
    There’s no help for me…

  3. bam says:

    I just want someone to tell me they want to eat my skin like a whole almond. Damn, that shit is hot.