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Pablo Neruda

Themes

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Throughout Pablo Neruda’s exciting existence, he seemed to lead a life of highs and lows, and his poetry resembles it. His muses varied from his three wives, to his love affairs, as well as the love of his nation, Chile. Neruda’s third wife, Matilde Urrutia, supplied him with inspiration to write some of the greatest love poems of the twentieth century. Even while neruda was ill, his final years back in his country were joyous ones. These feelings of happiness are unmistakable in his collection of poems “Twenty Love poems and a Song of Despair,” written in 1924. Neruda’s thematic techniques varied from different sources including love, nature, nation, and politics. These themes can be found in such poems as “Canto General,” (1950).
Neruda’s various themes induced his great notoriety of being able to write about anything. These themes were the center of most of Neruda’s poetry, the theme love, being one of the themes most written about, is evident in Neruda’s “One Hundred Love Sonnets” (1960). His poem “Recidencia en la Tierra,” (1933) includes themes of societal decay and personal seclusion, one of his more macabre and political poems. “Canto General” is a poem about the North and South America that includes themes such as politics and individual beliefs, and was influenced by Walt Whitman. His surrealistic poems are reflected by his quest for simplicity and the grief and despair he was experiencing at the time.
Neruda’s poetry was filled with both harmony and anguish, his poetry raged with political energy, and exploded with love for everything. Neruda’s pursuit of simplicity is evident in his poetry of everyday objects, such as his “Odas elementales.” Neruda is considered the best Spanish of our time, winning astonishing awards such as the Nobel Prize in 1971. His poetry reflects his life, his fervent love affairs, the nightmares and misery whilst appointed with political power. The thematic essence of his poems usually derived from nature, whether it is nature and state, or nature and past, or even nature and sovereignty.

I Do Not Love You
"I do not love you I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz, or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off. I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul. I love you as the plant that never blooms but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers; thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance, risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body. I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way that this: where I does not exist, nor you, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep"

Pablo Neruda by Richard Montero CGHS