beautiful pain or painful beauty?

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Tonight I Can Write the Saddest Lines by Pablo Neruda

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example, ‘The night is starry
and the stars are blue and 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 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.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is starry and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another’s. She will be another’s. As she was before my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.
Trans. W.S. Merwin

Poem from Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair

ANALYSIS

LOVE IS SO SHORT, FORGETTING IS SO LONG captures me tremendously that these lines may become the soundtrack of a lost love. These lines may seem a worn-out cliché but these do not lose its crisp and appeal to both young and old blood so to speak. The words are simple yet deep and profound. There are many literary devices used such as repetition, personification and of course imagery that mirrors the quality of a work of poetry ought to be. Once it is read, it leaves an ink in the heart and mind of the readers romantically and subliminally.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines….. signifies repetition to create rhythm and to fully understand the mood evoked in the poem. The fullness of its emotion is heightened by personification by the lines like— The night wind revolves in the sky and sings and the stars shiver. These express the loneliness of the speaker to the fact that he is utterly alone reminiscing the moments with his beloved.

Neruda uses imagery successfully that readers can visualize the scene of loss and pain through the world like— The night is starry and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance. To hear the immense night, still more immense without her. And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture. The loss and pain creep through the veins of the speaker that he tries to let go of one person he fears to lose.

To wit, the lines like—- The same night whitening the same trees. We, of that time, are no longer the same—- add up to the poem’s message that the speaker strives to move forward despite the depth and breadth of his affection for that woman.

Thus, the lines—– Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer and these the last verses that I write for her…. conveyed his will to move on and let go of once he had. Personally, this reiterates that we have to feel our feelings in its outmost sense to outpour all those tears and scars leading to healing. We have to embrace the saddest part of letting go in order to welcome another phase of life.

Hence, Neruda delivers it convincingly with the lines….. Tonight I can write the saddest lines…….. This really explains the lyrical laments of a beautiful pain of falling in and falling out of love as I believe so.

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