This poem dramatizes the conflict between the poet’s passionate burning desire and unconditional love for a woman, and his stern attitude toward her if she doesn’t feel the same. By demonstrating excellent personification, imagery, and sentimentality, this poet portrays love, compassion, and optimism. Although the poet expresses deep emotion for his love, he also acknowledges that love can be dangerous, and refuses to be damaged. To begin with, while explicating this poem, it was evident to make the assumption that the poet has experienced pain once or twice in his life.
The author begins to describe his love for a woman that is so powerful, that it is evident that he would go above and beyond to satisfy her. Arguably, this poem could in fact pertain to the risk, and terror of making oneself available to love and to be loved, which by nature makes oneself vulnerable to incredible hurt and pain. This is the poet’s manifesto in the face of such terror, and he does it with authenticity, vulnerability, and authority.
As analyzed by literary analyst Donald S. Walsh, “This [poem] is vintage Neruda, with all the passion and fickleness of desire.
The underlying melancholy is beautifully brought out by the conversational style (a la Mir Taqi Mir) – the conceit would have been metaphysical had it not been for the pain inherent in every verse. ” This is love that is hurting, that has been hurt in the past, and yet is open to being hurt again. In the opening stanza of this poem, Neruda underlines his authority with a stern, passive statement: “I want you to know one thing” (1) this is an obvious attempt to warn the reader that Neruda is in charge of the future conflict.
Proceeding to the following stanza, Neruda illustrates the beauty of nature and compares it to the beauty of love by using keen personification and visual imagery. Such as, “the wrinkled body of the log” (10) and “as if everything that exists, aromas, lights, metals, were little boats that sail, toward those isles of yours that wait for me. ”(12-16) This opening stanza gives the reader the inference that the poet is whole-heartedly committed to this woman. The poet also uses an oxymoron to demonstrate his love in lines (7-9), “if I touch near the fire the impalpable ash. ” Impalpable meaning “untouchable.” Neruda stresses an excessive amount of sentimentality throughout the beginning of this poem. Proceeding to the third stanza, the poet’s mood completely changes, “If little by little you stop loving me, I shall stop loving you little by little” this refers back to the first stanza where once again the narrator refuses to be subject to vulnerability. Lines (20-24) stresses the solemnness of the poet by asserting that “if suddenly you forget [him], do not look for [him] for [he] shall already have forgotten you. ” The fifth stanza demonstrates effective use of symbolism by Neruda.
“To leave me at the shore of the heart where I have roots” (29) Neruda is now referring back to the “isles” of [hers] (16) underlining that the narrator is symbolizing that his body is a tree, and his heart is the roots that have grown deep into the isle (the woman), and have adapted. Neruda then accentuates that if the woman were to leave him at the shore where he has become accustomed to, that “on that day, at that hour, I shall lift my arms, and my roots will set off to seek another land” (31-35) claiming that the narrator will not wait for her to come back, and he will in fact find another love.
Ultimately, Neruda unexpectedly returns to his sentimentality throughout the last stanza, offering optimism. Beginning the stanza with “but” became very powerful, considering that this was meant to stand-alone; the narrator is offering somewhat of a compromise. The poet then returns to the love entrenched speaker he is sought out to be. “If each day, each hour, you feel that you are destined for me with implacable sweetness…in me all that fire is repeated. In me nothing is extinguished or forgotten. ” (36-44) This is where Neruda emphasizes his true heart felt love for this woman, by illustrating that if the feeling is mutual nothing will defer his love. Finally in line (45) Neruda connects this poem with a lasting thought, and possibly a theme. “My love feeds on your love, beloved” Demonstrating his compassion with a lasting effect. Throughout this poem there are no evident signs of rhythm, or rhyme; although, the reader may view this as very effective. This, in turn, was perhaps intended by the poet because love in most cases, is unpredictable.
There was, however, a noticeable pattern when discovering the poet’s mood. The first stanza was a warning, the second, a beautiful picture painted by the poet of love. Neruda continues this pattern with repetitive use of the word “if” which may be referred to as a presupposition. “If you suddenly forget me, do not look for me, I shall have already forgotten you”. (20-24) This line can be interpreted as, “if she forgets him, he will forget her first. ” Neruda finally discontinues this pattern by returning to the mood of the second stanza by incorporating beautiful imagery and personification once again.
This, in fact insures that the poet is unafraid of the risks of falling in love, but remains completely aware. According to the Poetry Society Of America, “anyone who knows anything about Pablo Neruda knows that he is considered the ‘poet of love’”. Which is clearly demonstrated throughout this poem. Neruda was effective in creating a love story, one of which can be interpreted in many ways. Neruda painted the reader a vivid picture with the use of personification and the beauty of love. After diagnosing this poem, the tone, form, and consistency of Neruda really fit the overall “love to be loved” theme.