Tonight I Can Write as an Elegy
“Tonight I Can Write” by Pablo Neruda is a heart-wrenching poem that speaks to the pain and longing of lost love. As an elegy, it is a tribute to a love that once was but is now gone, and it explores the emotions associated with such loss in a powerful and evocative way. In this essay, we will examine how Neruda uses the language and structure of the poem to convey his feelings of grief and regret.
The poem begins with the narrator stating “Tonight I can write the saddest lines,” setting a melancholic tone for the rest of the piece. He goes on to describe how he has lost his love, and how he feels now that she is no longer with him. This section of the poem is full of vivid imagery, with the narrator describing how the stars and the wind remind him of his lost love. He also speaks of the pain that he feels, saying that “love is so short, forgetting is so long.” Through these lines, Neruda captures the sense of despair that accompanies a deep loss.
As the poem progresses, the narrator begins to remember the happy times that he shared with his love. He recalls how they spent long night together and shared intimate moments, and how he loved her with all his heart. The juxtaposition of these happy memories with the present-day sadness is incredibly powerful, conveying the depth of the loss that the narrator has suffered. He acknowledges that he can no longer have these happy experiences because she is gone, and this knowledge fills him with further sadness and regret.
Neruda speaks of the lover’s actions that led to the relationship’s downfall,
“I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes?”
The narrator reminisces about their past love, despite the pain that comes with it. The memory of her still eyes is symbolic of the clear and pure love they once had.
The third section of the poem sees the narrator shift his attention to his lost love. He describes her physical attributes and speaks of the way that she made him feel, painting a vivid picture of their relationship before it fell apart. He speaks of his longing for her, and how he wishes that she could be with him again. This section is particularly moving, as the narrator’s love for his lost partner is palpable, and the sense of loss that he feels is almost overwhelming.
The fourth and final section of the poem sees the narrator come to terms with his loss. He acknowledges that she is no longer with him, and he accepts that he must move on. However, he does so with a sense of sadness and regret, as he knows that he will never be able to forget her entirely. The final lines of the poem, where he says
“Tonight I can write the saddest lines,
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too”
are incredibly poignant, encapsulating the sense of melancholy that underpins the entire poem.
The theme of love and loss is central to Neruda’s elegy. The narrator describes how he has been left alone,
“My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.”
His longing for her is palpable and is evident in the imagery he uses to describe her. Even though the relationship has ended, the narrator still holds on to the memories they shared.
In conclusion, “Tonight I Can Write” by Pablo Neruda is a powerful elegy that explores the pain and longing associated with lost love. Through his use of vivid imagery, evocative language, and expertly crafted structure, Neruda captures the sense of despair and regret that comes from losing someone special. It reminds us of the depth of emotion that can be felt when we lose someone we care about deeply. Through his words, Neruda encourages us to embrace our feelings of sadness and to find solace in the memories of those we have loved and lost. Tonight I Can Write is a timeless piece of literature that will continue to resonate with readers for generations to come.