Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair …a review

The book I’m currently reading is taking a while; so I thought of telling you here about a book that I often read. Pablo Neruda is one of my favourite poets. Now, reading poetry is not the same as reading novels, to me. For one thing, I like to read poetry (especially love poems) aloud; which safely rules out enjoying the read anywhere outside of my room.

Also, for poetry, one needs the setting, the mood, the slow-dance, and the jazz. Night-time sounds may contribute, also dewfall. Shhh…

 Neruda’s poetry spans across five – six decades and themes of love, eroticism, nature, melancholy abound. They grow on the reader, like damp moss… Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair was published when he was 20. The words of the poet far surpass in maturity his age and the times.

 “It is the hour of departure, the hard cold hour

which the night fastens to all the timetables.

 The rustling belt of the sea girdles the shore.

Cold stars heave up, black birds migrate.

 Deserted like the wharves at dawn.

Only tremulous shadow twists in my hands.

 Oh farther than everything. Oh farther than everything.

 It is the hour of departure. Oh abandoned one!”

 A movie based on his life, ‘Il Postino (The Postman)’ also has some similar and wonderful poems. But of all his works, this one remains my favourite. For simply, the pain, the wrenching of guts that he has achieved here, few others have managed to fleetingly comprehend.

I think I know the reason why we never had Neruda in school. Even if one brands his love poems too mature, his nature and political ones are not; they could be a part of schoolwork. But they aren’t; because he said little, he wrote little. It is difficult to teach stuff like that with “The poet wants to say…” because the poet just wanted to say:

 “Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

 Write, for example,’The night is shattered

and the blue stars shiver in the distance.’

 The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

 Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

 Through nights like this one I held her in my arms

I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

 She loved me sometimes, and I loved her too.

How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

 Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.”

And this is just translated… imagine the impact of the original.

3 thoughts on “Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair …a review

  1. You have some good content on this site. Nice to meet another thinker. I appreciate your deep connection with the classic writers and their history. You might want to respell “imact”, last line of this post. And I would say in the other…”write just Black Beauty?” Though the “just” is so commonly used before the verb now, no one cares and it actually often sounds better the premature way it’s placed. Please delete this comment, if you’d like! Only meaning to be helpful. Blessings!!

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