‘Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of Despair’ by Pablo Neruda

Neruda wrote in a variety of styles such as erotically charged love poems as in
his collection Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of Despair, surrealist poems,
historical epics, and overtly political manifestos. In 1971 Neruda won the Nobel
Prize for Literature. Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez once called him
“the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language.” Neruda always wrote in
green ink as it was his personal color of hope.

In the wave-strike over unquiet stones

“In the Wave-Strike Over Unquiet Stones”, is a poem which expresses how romantic love fades. Like the waves of the ocean, Neruda expresses romantic love ebbing and flowing. As Neruda says: “the brightness bursts and bears the rose”. In other words, Neruda is saying we sometimes meet a unique romantic love interest in life which shines so brightly; however, love does not always last. It collapse and “destroys its continual forms”. Obviously, something so beautiful and strong like the waves of the ocean will dissolve and disappear, which is how Neruda sees romantic love.

However, despite the lovely metaphors of the poem, the flowery nature of Neruda’s poem overwhelms the senses of the reader. It is as if the imagery is too rich and disturbs the flow of the narrative. Despite this flaw, Neruda’s poem is still fascinating and compels the reader to create their own meaning about love.

In the wave-strike over unquiet stones
the brightness bursts and bears the rose
and the ring of water contracts to a cluster
to one drop of azure brine that falls.
O magnolia radiance breaking in spume,
magnetic voyager whose death flowers
and returns, eternal, to being and nothingness:
shattered brine, dazzling leap of the ocean.
Merged, you and I, my love, seal the silence
while the sea destroys its continual forms,
collapses its turrets of wildness and whiteness,
because in the weft of those unseen garments
of headlong water, and perpetual sand,
we bear the sole, relentless tenderness.

Pablo Neruda

courtesy: https://pablonerudaproject.tumblr.com/PoetryReview :

3 thoughts on “‘Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of Despair’ by Pablo Neruda

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