Happy Birthday, Pablo Neruda! 17 Quotes To Inspire Love & Life Today

One of the most beloved and widely read Latin American poets, Pablo Neruda — the “People’s Poet” of Chile — would have been 111 years old today.

Though he was an essayist, politician and diplomat, Neruda is best known for his poetry, with his verse running the gamut from songs of love and desire to musings on nature and politics.

Once called “the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language” by novelist Gabriel García Márquez, Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971, two years before his death.

To honor this prolific, immensely talented writer on his birthday, we’ve compiled 17 of his quotes and lines of poetry that we hope will inspire love and life today.

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Every day you play with the light of the universe.

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.
Tie your heart at night to mine, love,
and both will defeat the darkness

A child who does not play is not a child, but the man who doesn't play has lost forever the child who lived in him and who he will miss terribly.

You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.

And something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
deciphering
that fire,
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
nonsense,
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing,
and I suddenly saw
the heavens
unfastened
and open.

Laughter is the language of the soul.
 

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Someday, somewhere — anywhere, unfailingly, you'll find yourself, and that, and only that, can be the happiest or bitterest hour of your life.

He who does not travel, who does not read,
who does not listen to music,
who does not find grace in himself,
she who does not find grace in herself,
dies slowly.

Take it all back. Life is boring, except for flowers, sunshine, your perfect legs. A glass of cold water when you are really thirsty. The way bodies fit together. Fresh and young and sweet. Coffee in the morning. These are just moments. I struggle with the in-betweens. I just want to never stop loving like there is nothing else to do, because what else is there to do?

All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence in order to reach forth to the enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance and sing our sorrowful song.

If nothing saves us from death, at least love should save us from life.

I love all things,
not just the grandest,
also the infinite-
ly
small —
thimbles,
spurs,
plates,
and flower vases.

But when I hold you I hold everything that is —
sand, time, the tree of the rain,
everything is alive so that I can be alive

We must dream our way.
 

Ah, love is a voyage with water and a star,
in drowning air and squalls of precipitate bran;
love is a war or lights in the lightning flashes,
two bodies blasted in a single burst of honey.

I am not jealous
of what came before me.

Photo via Flickr user claudio.aguirre

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