This is a fabulous dual-language collection of some of the most sensual, passionate poems written in modern times. Whether he imagines himself as an insect making a journey "from your hips to your feet", traveling to distant places with his beloved by his side, or as a soldier who must leave but whose love will "go on singing until the end of life", Neruda writes with exquisite simplicity, and great beauty.
I find this to be the most accessible of Neruda's books that I have read, perhaps because its subject was a central part of his life. As explained in the introduction of the book, these poems are autobiographical, and written about his wife, Matilde Urrutia. First published anonymously in 1952, they were released in 1963 under his own name, but only after much thought, because of their "intimate birth".
The translations by Donald D. Walsh are superb. He has captured the fluid rhythm, the emotion, and the fire.
He was fortunate to have had this remarkable relationship, as well as the ability to express his feelings with such uncommon depth, but for those men who lack Neruda's poetic genius, and who would like to melt the heart of the woman they love, this might be the perfect gift to go along with that bunch of flowers.