From the Vantage of a Lonely Heart

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                Love is like a ship. Many people still ride on it without knowing who the real captain is and without any assurance if they could reach their destination safely, or if the ship will just sink in the middle of the ocean. Unfortunately, if the latter has happened, one, who’s not ready for the consequences, will be drowned, and will be alone until the end.

                The one you have read above shows the reality of being unsuccessful in love. You’ll be alone and one the things you can only do is to hold a pen, and write everything what your heart wants to say. So, at this point, from the vantage of a lonely heart, you’ll hear the voice of a Pablo Neruda in his poem ‘Tonight I can Write [the saddest lines]’.

                In this poem, the first line ‘Tonight I can write the saddest lines’ was stated three times. This implies that Neruda wants to put an emphasis on his message by constantly putting it in the verses. The consistency through this brought unity in the theme of the poem. With his use of the modal ‘can’, it suggests that before, he could not write anything sad because every single thing was fine between him and his love. Also, he wrote the poem, based on the lines, at a nighttime which foreshadows the gloomy and dark end of their bright relationship.

                Neruda has also used nature in establishing a connection between his sweet memories in the past and his miseries in the present. He has used the night to build a tone of tranquility and coldness as a result of being alone; the stars to establish the distance to emphasize the fact the he is alone; and the endless sky to express the hope that their love lasts forever.

                The line ‘I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too,’ implies that something has ended, and they have loved each other maybe or maybe not on the same time. The use of the word ‘sometimes’ strengthens the idea he wasn’t loved all throughout their journey. There were only times when she loved him, and that made their relationship weaker.

                Many people are like Neruda; falling in love because of the glimmer of the eyes, or any other physical attributions. The poet has used physical attributes in laying down his reason of loving his lost love. However, after describing his lover’s eyes, which somehow put good vibes in the verse, the mood fell on the cliff and went back discussing his miseries in love. It was more intensified by repeating the first line and followed by the line ‘To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.’ He is pointing out the painful truth of not escaping his fate in love. The use of the words ‘think’ and ‘feel’ implies the horrendous impact of what has happened to them – not only to the feelings, but also to the mind.

             The message of the poem was elevated with the use of personification. He mentioned that hearing the immense night was ‘more immense without her’. In fact, the silence of the night couldn’t be heard as well as its massiveness. With the effective shift of the use of imagery, he pictured out his loneliness brought by the calmness of the immense night.

                The emphasis on distance was seen in the 17th line ‘This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.’ The rhythm and melody he might heard before in her lost love’s voice could still be heard, however, only from a distance. In these parts of the poem, he also used three things to restate the bitter truth that he’s no longer with her: the shattered night, the unsatisfied soul, and his lost heart. After using distance, he also used the element of night, again, and time. This is to strengthen the fact that the time in the present makes a huge difference with the time when they were still under the same night-sky, watching the stars, spending every single second together.

                Again, he plotted a cosmic element in his lines ‘I no longer love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her. My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.’ Here, he was trying to use the wind as a way of relaying his message, because that is the only thing which could witness his solitude. Another striking statement of Neruda are the lines ‘Another’s. She will be another’s. Like my kisses before. Her voice. Her bright body. Her infinite eyes.’ It shows an intolerable feeling of thinking that someone you (for example, Neruda) once had in the past is no longer yours. And since her heart is no longer connected to yours, she could now escape from the reality and so, marks her freedom to search for someone who will fill the gaps in her heart.

                For the second time, he mentioned the line ‘I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her.’ This is a proof that there are repetitions of lines in poem, but those were not plotted in the same parts of the verse. And these are to echo his message to the reader. ‘Love is so short, forgetting is so long,’ Neruda said in his poem. This line tells the readers that falling in love is too easy, and being in love seems short in a span of time. What requires a longer time is the acceptance and moving-on. It is too hard to forget someone who once made your heart beat faster than usual, and once put a smile in your lonely face. It is too hard to bring back the warmth you once experienced before suffering an unbearable pain. This is also to reiterate that pain is something which is not easy to forget.

                ‘Though this [would] be the last pain that she makes me suffer and these [are] the last verses that I write for her,’ Neruda said as a concluding message in his poem. In these lines, he indirectly implies that despite of the pain she has brought to him, he has now a strong mind and heart to face the next days without her. Maybe, through these, he will already try to let-go and forget since these verses are the last verses he wrote for her. She can no longer hurt him, and that would be the last since he is now ready to end that lonely night, and wait for the sunset full of hope and love.

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photo from https://www.pexels.com/photo/alone-freedom-man-person-24289/

For the copy of the poem by Pablo Neruda


Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example,’The night is shattered
and the blue stars shiver in the distance.’

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me sometimes, and I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

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 verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is shattered and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight searches for her as though to go to her.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another’s. She will be another’s. Like my kisses before.
Her voice. Her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.

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2 thoughts on “From the Vantage of a Lonely Heart

  1. gurugeri says:

    I feel that there are some hugots in the work. 🙂 But just like what I said in your previous entry, love has time. It comes when you least expect it. Just focus on the more important matters for now. Love can surely wait.
    Anyway, I would like to commend you for being one of the few who showed tremendous improvement in my class during the whole school year. Your writing is getting more polished and your ideas show how critical you have become of the materials we tackled in class. Thank you too for your diligence, punctuality in turning in requirements, active participation, and immense motivation! God bless you, Edr!

    Like

  2. Yes, Sir. I actually don’t let these things distract me in doing things which are more important (such as academics). I still know the reason why I’m here – to study well. I just treat it as an inspiration or motivation in life.

    Thank you very much, Sir! Thank you for your compliments. I wouldn’t be here without you as my teacher. Thank you for appreciating my effort, Sir. God bless, too, Sir! Hope to be your student again next school year! More wonderful English classes, please! 🙂 🙂

    Like

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