Thursday, December 26, 2013

Analysis of "Clenched Soul" by Pablo Neruda

Original poem reprinted online here: "Clenched Soul" by Pablo Neruda
Originally read: June 27, 2013
More information about the Poet: Pablo Neruda

Each stanza has a sense of turmoil.  The push and pull of a relationship that's not really stated, but compared to.

With the first stanza, "We have lost even this twilight / No one saw us this evening hand in hand / while the blue night dropped on the world."  The setting of the poem starts at the loss of twilight, assuming that's the start of the day.  The speaker appropriates this moment to a "we" hand in hand.  The last image, "blue night dropped on the world" has foreboding undertone -- somewhat encompassing.

"I have seen from my window / the fiesta of sunset in the distant mountain tops."  A visual stanza in which, note, the speaker is alone.  He is looking out.  And "fiesta" here is not my first inclination of a "party."  I think the word is more inclined to the definition of "religious festival."  Something more divine, but far away.

"Sometimes a piece of sun / burned a coin in my hand."  A surreal image.  At this point, it feels like each stanza (all self contained sentences) feel like they are talking about different things.  However, the speaker is piecing together the setting and himself -- either as the day continues or him looking back.  So the burning of the coin seems like the day is giving a painful fortune -- daylight brings in beauty, but the other leaves.

"I remembered you with my soul clenched / in that sadness that you know" gone are the images (note how concrete the images were in the beginning to get to this point) and the speaker professes a sadness -- not that the audience knows (hence the self contained stanzas feeling a bit off), but to an other that is a figment.  And with this figment, the speaker questions:

      Where were you then?
      Who else was there?
      Saying what?
      Why will the whole of love come on me suddenly
      when I am sad and feel you are far away?

These questions are relationship questions based on trust and control.  What lead the speaker to this point -- a memory.  The speaker "remembered" the departing.  Posthumous questions or it might be the questions that drove the other away.  In any case, the shift in tone is more angry at the beginning, then shifts to loneliness with, "when I am sad and feel you are far away?"  Note that the key word is "feel" -- distance that is played throughout the poem.

"The book fell that always closed at twilight / and my blue sweater rolled like a hurt dog at my feet."  Here's where the images personify the speakers emotions.  The book fell more of an end of a book -- story.  The "blue sweater rolled like a hurt dog at my feet"  pained emotion in the objects.

"Always, always you recede through the evenings / toward the twilight erasing statues." The loss is there, but I questions what the statues are.  Yes, the statues are metaphorical; however, does the leaving always stay like the thought of erasing statues?  It's gone, it's gone, it's gone.

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