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Personal Response- Pablo Neruda

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Introduction

My annotations of Pablo Neruda's poems were a little shaky at first, because I was unable to account for reoccurring themes. The sheer volume of poems did not leave time for backtracking, and I often did not begin to star a common device until the second or third time it was iterated. As I neared the end of the packet, however, I had begun to recognize three motifs that appeared often to draw my interest and two major articles that Neruda seems to base his metaphors on in nearly every included poem. My noted motifs include diction dealing with gemstones and knives, while his metaphors seem to be divided mainly between water and earth. While I cannot say for sure what he means by these images, I noticed Neruda mention gemstones in several poems, namely "Piano" ["an emerald crossed the abysses" (Neruda 283)], "Black Pantheress" ["a rhombus of topaz or the gold of a hexagon" (Neruda 249); "the panther / of mineral eye" (Neruda 251)], and "The Poet" ["that time / when I cherished a leaflet of quartz" (Neruda 177)]. ...read more.

Middle

Albeit somewhat coarse to simplify each of these instances, I believe that Neruda mentions knives to signify power. It should be noted, however, that knives are not the focal point of any of these poems; they are simply images blended with other descriptions that add to the overall effect. I draw my conclusion of blades signifying power only because this seems to be the most logical explanation given the circumstances in which they are mentioned. "The Beggars," for example, speaks of remaking 'you' with qualities similar to that of a blade. To my understanding, the entire poem deals with the notion that everyone is poor in their beginnings- "[the poor] prefigure us" (Neruda 153)- and that we "trample them under" (Neruda 153) if we've seen that we've gained higher standing than they have. We are given this 'power' after we've been remade. Neruda himself speaks of power even more metaphorically, relating it to either earth or water. I did not begin to become blatantly sure of this until I reached the first division, entitled "Residence on Earth." ...read more.

Conclusion

Many of the poems that follow this one deal with similar imagery- "Fantom" speaks of "Your eyes struggling like oarsmen" (Neruda 49) and "Walking Around" of "a big wooly swan / awash on an ocean" (Neruda 77), for example. I believe that this change of setting for his metaphors reflects his change of perspective. While he was involved with the woman his first set of poems were about, he imagined her to be like the earth. Once he's distanced himself from her, however, he's realized she is not at all like what he'd thought. In a later section of the poem, Neruda himself speaks along these lines in the poem "Sonata With Some Pines." At this point, I believe that he has moved past not only seeing her as a forest, but also as a body of water. Now he proclaims "let us talk with the roots / and the malcontent waves" (Neruda 317). I took the roots in this expression to mean his relationship as it was during it length, and the malcontent waves to be how he reacted to her absence. By talking with each of theme, Neruda is reflecting on his past relationship. ...read more.

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