Love in Pablo Neruda`s Poems

Categories: LiteraturePoetry

Over the course of his writing career, Neruda became well-known for his sometimes-explicit love poems and also his political writing. Neruda’s love poems are considered particularly evocative because he combines the traditional elements of love poetry and mixes them with his relationship to Chile and the wilderness. For all its variety and mutability, Pablo Neruda’s poetry is always passionate. Naturally Pablo Neruda Love Poetry has this attribute as a hallmark, an easily recognizable feature.

Many of his poems involved personal experiences with a large sense of history.

He ended his poem ‘I Explain Some Things’, for instance, with a declaration: ‘You will ask why his poetry/ doesn’t speak to us of dreams, of the leaves,/ of the great volcanoes of his native land?// Come and see the blood in the streets,/ come and see/ the blood in the streets,/ come and see the blood/ in the streets!’ Neruda’s epic poem for South America,’ Canto General’, became a rallying song for revolutionaries; Che Guevara carried it in his backpack and died with a copy of it in his pocket.

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Neruda wrote countless poems about love. He described falling in love, making love, and the idea of love, as being completely overtaken by the greatest feeling in the world. Common themes found in Pablo Neruda’s poems include love, sex, history, nature and daily life. The themes of Neruda’s poetry evolved throughout his years of writing and greatly reflected the changes in his thinking and life experiences.

Pablo had a very rich and tumultuous life much like the Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, who had similar periods of Exile and ostracization and yet he continued to compose poetry which he spoke of general masses and of a better world.

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The lesser known fact is that Faiz and Neruda, along with being contemporaries were friends. Both Neruda and Faiz were essentially anti colonist and anti-imperialist. Their work complimented their struggle and vice versa. Faiz and Pablo both wrote poems when they were in prison to express their love their respective countries. Faiz wrote ‘A prison evening’ and Neruda wrote ‘I Begin by Invoking Walt Whitman’ stand as touchstones in literature.

Meera- spiritual love, spiritual unification – end of suffering

Mirabai was known for her songs of devotion to Krishna and for forsaking traditional women’s roles to devote life to Krishna-worship. She was a Bhakti saint, poet and mystic, and also a Princess. Mirabai’s contribution to the Bhakti movement was primarily in her music: she wrote hundreds of songs and initiated a mode of singing the songs, a raga. About 200-400 songs are accepted by scholars as being written by Mirabai; another 800-1000 have been attributed to her. Mira’s suffered a lot in personal life although not physically as much but spiritually. In her devotion to Krishna she found the end of her spiritual suffering.

Mirabai’s songs express her love and devotion to Krishna, almost always as Krishna’s wife. The songs speak of both the joy and the pain of love. Metaphorically, Mirabai points to the longing of the personal self, atman, to be one with the universal self, or paramatma,( spiritual unification) which is a poet’s representation of Krishna.

The padas(songs) of Mirabai provide a miscellany of Mirabai’s spiritual experiences at different stages in her spiritual life. They do not cover a wide range of subjects but are rich in spontaneity, imagery, and lyricism. Her devotional bhajans were infectious in their capacity to offer spiritual upliftment. Mirabai composed hundreds of poems in a simple, unpretentious style. They are full of intensity and transcendental spirituality. Through her poems / bhajans she expressed, with a powerful intensity, the spiritual fervor of an aspirant mad with the love of God. Meera’s style combines impassioned mood, defiance, longing, anticipation, joy and ecstasy of union, always centered on Krishna. A number of compositions by Meera Bai continue to be sung today in India, mostly as devotional songs (bhajans) though nearly all of them have a philosophical connotation.

Another movement comes very close to Bhakti movement in terms of its teachings and even writings, that is the Sufi movement or Sufism

The Sufis believed in the essential pillars of Islam, but also contemplated on the problems and deeper meanings of life, questioned the prevalent dogmas and disparities of society, and brought people together with the message of love and equality. In some cases, they went into self-exile due to persecution from the clergy and the ruling class in response to their critique. They mostly disowned material possessions, and moved around from place to place looking for spiritual contentment. They tried to develop their mental faculties through contemplation and meditation, and achieve higher spiritual states.

Sufism had an important influence on medieval literature, especially poetry, that was written in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Urdu, and other languages of the Middle East. Sufi poetry written in Persian (Farsi) flourished from the 12th to 15th centuries. Later major poets linked with the Sufi tradition included Hatif Isfahani (17th century) and Bedil (18th century). There are several Sufi poets in Iran and Pakistan.

It is popularly known that the highest form of human love is ‘Sufi love’. The Sufi’s devotion to God and to the master of the Path exemplifies the kind of love transcends all conventions based on mutual expectations, being founded on the following principle: ‘I am for you, you are for whoever you choose; I accept whatever you want without any expectations whatsoever This kind of love is not based upon any constraints or conditions; the Sufi who possesses this kind of love says with contentment and submission to God: ‘I am satisfied with whatever You want, without any expectations, and love You without any thought of reward.

Both Sufi and Bhakti movements emphasized on the feeling of universal brotherhood and religious tolerance. As a result, an environment of mutual love and respect was created among different sections of society.

Faiz was an avowed supporter of Sufism. He had close relations with several Sufis of his time. He was a favorite of Baba Malang Sahib, a Sufi of Lahore, Ashfaq Ahmed and other renowned Sufis. Faiz no doubt was a Marxist by conviction but in his poetry, he presented a unique blend of Sufism and modernity. Many a times, Faiz has been called ‘The Sufi Marxist’.

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Love in Pablo Neruda`s Poems. (2021, Sep 09). Retrieved from

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