Analysis of Poem Tonight I Can Write by Pablo Neruda
“Tonight I Can Write” is a poem written by Chilean poet and Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda. The poem was published in 1924 as part of Neruda’s collection of love poems “Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair“.
The poem is a reflection on the emotions of love and heartbreak. It begins with the speaker stating that tonight he can write the saddest lines, expressing his profound feelings of loss and despair. The poem then goes on to describe the memories of a lost love, including the moments of joy and happiness they shared together, and the pain that now accompanies those memories. The speaker acknowledges that the love they had was fleeting and ultimately doomed to end, but he still feels the overwhelming sadness of its loss.
The poem begins with the speaker acknowledging his ability to write about the love that he has lost. Neruda speaks from the heart, telling the story of his lost love. He begins by speaking of the night, and how it brings back memories of their time together. He says,
“Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.”
This sets the tone for the poem and suggests that the speaker is about to express his sorrow in a powerful and emotional way.
The poem continues with the speaker describing how he once loved someone deeply. He writes,
“She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.”
This line suggests that their love was not always reciprocated, and there were times when the speaker did not feel the same level of love as his partner. However, despite this, their love was still strong and meaningful.
As the poem progresses, the speaker becomes more emotional and expresses his pain more explicitly. He writes,
“In nights like this one,
I held her in my arms.”
This line conveys a sense of longing and a desire to be reunited with his lost love. The use of the past tense in this line suggests that the speaker knows that this is no longer possible.
The speaker then goes on to describe the things that he remembers about his lost love. He says,
“I no longer love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her.”
This line captures the conflicting emotions that the speaker is experiencing. On the one hand, he has moved on from his love, but on the other hand, he still feels a deep sense of longing for what once was.
Throughout the poem, the speaker uses vivid and evocative language to describe his emotions. For example, he says,
“My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.”
This line suggests that the speaker is trying to communicate with his lost love in some way, even though he knows that this is impossible.
The poem ends with the speaker acknowledging that his love has gone, and that he must learn to live without it. He writes about how she left him one day without a word, and how his world collapsed. Yet, despite the pain, he still holds onto the memories of their time together. As he continues to write, Neruda explores the idea of time and how it heals all wounds. He realizes that the pain of lost love will fade with time, but that the memories will still remain. He writes,
“I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, and forgetting is so long.”
In the final stanza, Neruda reflects on the power of writing to ease his suffering. Although it may not bring his lost love back, the act of writing allows him to express his emotions and find solace in his memories. He writes,
“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 poem falls to the soul as dew to grass.”
The poem shows readers how love can shape us as people and how it can also leave us broken after it leaves us. The poem tells us through the speaker’s experiences that moving on from heartbreak is possible and that life goes on.
The poem is notable for its use of imagery and metaphor. The speaker compares his lost love to the stars, describing how he used to gaze up at the night sky with his lover, but now the stars have lost their meaning and have become mere points of light. The use of this metaphor highlights the speaker’s sense of loss and his struggle to find meaning in a world that has been shattered by heartbreak.
Another powerful image in the poem is the description of the wind as a constant reminder of the speaker’s lost love. The wind is personified as a presence that surrounds and envelops the speaker, whispering the name of his beloved and reminding him of what he has lost. This metaphor serves to emphasize the speaker’s sense of longing and the inescapability of his grief.
To sum up, “Tonight I Can Write” is a poignant and evocative poem that captures the complex emotions of love and loss. Neruda’s use of vivid imagery and metaphor creates a powerful sense of longing and heartbreak that resonates with readers. The poem is a testament to the enduring power of love and the profound impact it can have on our lives.