Scroll down for English translation.

“Poema 15” de Veinte Poemas de Amor


Me gustas cuando callas porque estás como ausente,

y me oyes desde lejos, y mi voz no te toca.

Parece que los ojos se te hubieran volado

y parece que un beso te cerrara la boca.


Como todas las cosas están llenas de mi alma,

emerges de las cosas, llena del alma mía.

Mariposa de sueño, te pareces a mi alma,

y te pareces a la palabra melancolía.


Me gustas cuando callas y estás como distante.

Y estás como quejándote, mariposa en arrullo.

Y me oyes desde lejos, y mi voz no te alcanza:

Déjame que me calle con el silencio tuyo.


Déjame que te hable también con tu silencio

claro como una lámpara, simple como un anillo.

Eres como la noche, callada y constelada.

Tu silencio es de estrella, tan lejano y sencillo.


Me gustas cuando callas porque estás como ausente.

Distante y dolorosa como si hubieras muerto.

Una palabra entonces, una sonrisa bastan.

Y estoy alegre, alegre de que no sea cierto.


© Fundación Pablo Neruda.


“Poem 15” from Twenty Love Poems


I like it when you're quiet. It's as if you weren't here now,

you heard me from a distance, and my voice couldn't reach you.

It's as if your eyes had flown away from you, and as if

your mouth were closed because I leaned to kiss you.


Just as all living things are filled with my soul.

you emerge from all living things filled with the soul of me.

It's as if, a butterfly in dreams, you were my soul,

and as if you were the soul's word, melancholy.


I like it when you're quiet. It's as if you'd gone away now,

And you'd become the keening, the butterfly's insistence,

And you heard me from a distance and my voice didn't reach you.

It's then that what I want is to be quiet with your silence.


It's then that what I want is to speak to your silence

in a speech as clear as lamplight, as plain as a gold ring.

You are quiet like the night, and like the night you're starlit.

Your silences are star-like, they're a distant and a simple thing.


I like it when you're quiet. It's as if you weren't here now.

As if you were dead now, and sorrowful, and distant.

A word then is sufficient, or a smile, to make me happy,

Happy that it seems so certain that you're present.


Translated by Robert Hass from The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems City Lights, © 2004.

Neruda El llamado del poeta
Neruda The Biography of a Poet