In “Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair”, Neruda uses natural references and imagery to present his thoughts and feelings. Initially, it is granted that he tries to unite with the essence of the natural world, as that is something out of human control and even existed prior to human beings, which significantly adds to the meaning. With his use of natural imagery, Neruda implies its captivating beauty and how expressive and meaningful nature is, but is not appreciated enough. “Girl Lithe and Tawny”, “White Bee” and “I Remember You as You Were”, share a common motif to present his feelings and love towards an unknown and absent woman, but also the opposing feelings, such as loneliness that come with his feeling of love. Although this love is bringing light into his life, it also causes pain and sadness. This essay will assess the significance of naturalistic references made and their meanings.
In “Girl Lithe and Tawny” Neruda has a focus on describing his deep emotions towards his absent lover. In the first stanza he says “your mouth that has the smile of water”, with the reference of water, he illustrates the extent of his deep emotion he feels when he sees her smile. The “water” and “smile” is ambivalent, as the water is deep and powerful. Even though water is necessary for survival it can also take a life, indicating that he almost needs his lovers’ smile in order for him to survive and to be happy, but also that his attachment to this girl is painful and deadly to him. In the following stanza he states, “Black yearning sun” and “Black mane”, which is contradictory. He ...
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..., although their love is over now, it can still be felt.
In conclusion, in comparison to “Girl Lithe and Tawny” and “White Bee”, “I Remember You as You Were” is an epiphany, as it seems like the poet is starting to understand that his love is not meant to be and that he should appreciate the memories they have had together, rather than trying to retrieve their former relationship. His use of nature to bring across his emotion toward co-existing feelings of love and sadness he feels towards his lover are strongly significant to understanding Neruda’s passion for the woman he loves and the deep heartache he suffers from. “Girl Lithe and Tawny” and “White Bee”, both focus on describing his deep emotions towards an absent lover, whereas “I Remember You as You Were”, is mainly based on memories and each stanza attempts to represent a different stage in their relationship.
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