Neruda cherishes lovers that continue to learn about each other. In several of his poems, he creates a narrator who enjoys the steps leading up to love. Neruda starts poems with an imagery of a travel, proclaiming, “I want to make a long journey” (“The Insect” 2). He then proceeds to metaphorically travel his lover’s body, gazing at her physical features. His declaration is not just for show, as it is not an easy excursion to tour and truly understand the sights. By beginning the poem with this journey imagery, he commends the dedication and desire to learn about someone as the first step to love. Neruda uses this imagery in multiple poems on the common ground that love is not a destination but voyage. He confesses “The years of my life / have been roadways of searching”, as though before love, Neruda yearned for someone to know intimately (“Your Hands” 22-23). His tormented, wistful thoughts of “searching” later turn into his “want to make a long journey”. One leads to another and yet, that is still not the end of love. This “journey” is constant. Neruda adores the passion behind love; he sees the beauty not only in the lover but in the motivations as well...
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... to know the clay. Had he not loved, he would not even care about this detail. Neruda later glorifies her hands, lifting them as wings. He praises “their smoothness” and then, when she “laid / [her] hands on [his] chest, / [he] knew those wings” (“Your Hands” 12, 16-18). The moment of touch is a sensation of emotions but instead of describing how he feels, he describes what he thinks. Neruda adamantly repeats himself - the only way one can be in love is if he truly knows the person. With love, the knowledge is involuntary and thus is engrained into the brain.
Neruda’s poetry have a wide variety of subjects but on the topic of love, he exalts the process of knowing someone before loving them. Neruda disapproves only feeling for them, in a physical or emotional way, is an infatuation. By instinctually memorizing details of the lover’s body, one can truly fall in love.
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