The Everpresent Theme of Love in Pablo Neruda’s Poetry

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

“I like for you to be still” by Pablo Neruda is a very meaningful and deep poem written from him to someone else. In summary, the poem is about how someone, referred to as I, pleads to someone to stop and hear him out. It is all about love and how the I person seems to be having a one-sided conversation with a possible lover. The first person character is most likely Pablo himself, as many of his other poems have this first-person view as well. The second person is someone who means a lot to him and seems to be ignoring him. He describes them as ‘remote’ and ‘candid’ furthermore proving the point of the one-sided relationship. It ends with him admitting to how even a smile from this secondary character would’ve been enough for him, showing his deep fondness towards this person.

There are quite a few poetic devices in this poem. One example is the repetition of the same few phrases in each stanza. Some good examples are “I like for you to be still” and “It is a though you are absent”, which are both said multiple times. These phrases are important because they show us they clear separation between the two characters, one trying and failing to get the attention of the other character. These two lines help build an image of their relationship and help add emotion to the text. Another example of a poetic device is the use of connotation, more specifically the use of butterfly. Throughout the poem, the primary character refers to the secondary character as a butterfly multiple times. This is important because butterflies are associated with evolving and transformation, and have a positive connotation. Within the text, the author writes about how the secondary character, i.e the butterfly, emerges from everything else like it would from a cocoon. This adds to the poem’s message because it once again shows the importance of the second character, and how much they mean to the primary character. The tone of the poem is sadness, and the evidence is all throughout the text. The entire poem one character tries desperately to get the love and attention of the other character, only to fail.

Many words that describe sadness, such as ‘melchonaly’ and ‘lamenting’, are used to give the reader a sense of sadness and despair towards the primary character. Near the end, though it seems to get happier when the character says he’s happy, we know it’s still sad because had he truly been happy, he would have never thought about anything written in the poem. The point of view in this poem is the first person. The use of the pronoun I show it is through the eyes of either a new character or possibly the author themselves. This ties into the speaker because it is most likely Pablo Neruda who is the person in this poem. Many other poems written by Pablo Neruda have been in the first person, and many tell tales from his own life. One example of symbolism is the butterfly. During the text, the author tells us how the butterfly is this secondary character. Butterflies are associated with the soul and sadness in many cultures and in this poem the butterfly does those exact two things. I believe the butterfly represents how precious this person is to him and she seems to float away from him. There was also so uses of imagery within the poem, a good example being the piece about the still night and silent/remote star when describing him a lover. It paints a strong image of solidity and loneliness, once again adding to the one-sided nature of this poem. This poem was written in free verse because it didn’t rhyme and didn’t seem to have a structure.

The title is significant because it ties into the theme of the poem. Throughout the piece, the author talks about how the secondary character is far away and distant as if to suggest she’s leaving. The title helps us feel how the man feels during the poem. His love is leaving/ is distant and he wants just to talk to her, even for one split second. He talks about how we would be still in her silence, to suggest how he would do anything for her, but to no avail. The title also ties back into the butterfly piece. Butterflies are in constant motion and you have to be quick to see them. Because he views his lover as a butterfly, this may also be a plea to slow down, so he could express his feelings for her.

Pablo Neruda was a very talented man. He won the Nobel prize for literature and was a great man but the one thing that stood out with him was his love life. Pablo married three times and cheated on his wife’s multiple times, usually with his soon to be brides. The only woman who was ever really remembered to be important to him was his third wife, Mathilde Urrutla, whom he said was the love of his life. Though the date of publication is unknown, it is widely believed this poem, like many of his others, was based towards her and his love towards her. The poem “I like for you to be still” has a very deep meaning to it. It is almost certainly written in the first person view of Pablo and is most likely about his love life with his third wife. The poem is all about love and regret, and how he was thankful none of it happened. In conclusion, the message he is trying to tell us that love is rare. Many take for granted loved ones and almost always expect them to say/do something and support you. Without that special person, life is really hard and miserable, so the message is when you find love, do not blow it and never take love for granted.

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