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In this poem, Pablo Neruda is talking about life, and how he feels that it is an insignificant business. He talks about life after death, saying that nobody keeps what they have and says that life is nothing but a ‘borrowing of bones’. The best thing he claims to have learnt from life is that one should not have too much of either joy or sadness, but experience both in equal quantities.
He feels that his being happy was a punishment, a condemnation that caused him to plunge into the sorrows of others, and to share with them their sorrow. He says that he did not do this for fame or for money, but because he could not live in the shadows, the shadows of other people. He says that we can heal our own wounds by weeping and singing, but in front of us lie thousands of others who are in constant suffering.
He feels that his business on earth was to fulfil his spirit, the happiness he felt with the sum of all his actions. It gave him great joy to bathe in the sea under the sun, and in the very foam of the sea, his heart which lay dying was seeped into the sand.
The poet makes use of immense imagery in all his works. There is no poem written by Pablo Neruda, which is lacking imagery. It is one of the most common literary devices used by the poet. And this is one such poem where he has used various kinds of imagery to illustrate his thoughts.