Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry: Explained, ONE HUNDRED LOVE SONNETS: 33, by NEFTALI RICARDO REYES BASUALTO

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

ONE HUNDRED LOVE SONNETS: 33, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

In "One Hundred Love Sonnets: 33," by Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basualto-commonly known as Pablo Neruda-love is not just an emotion; it's a journey that traverses both space and time. The sonnet is a tender affirmation of the homecoming of two lovers who have roamed far and wide, metaphorically and perhaps literally. It contrasts the idea of love as an eternal, boundless force with the more temporal, earthly realities that even love cannot entirely escape.

The poem begins with an immediate, intimate declaration: "Love, we're going home now." The sense of home is reinforced through natural imagery: "Where the vines clamber over the trellis." This picture suggests stability, a quiet place unburdened by the passing of time, where "Even before you, the summer will arrive, / On its honeysuckle feet, in your bedroom." The description of summer arriving on "honeysuckle feet" is particularly evocative, suggesting that home is a place where even seasons tiptoe gently into one's most private spaces.

The poem then zooms out to a global scale. "Our nomadic kisses wandered over all the world: / Armenia, dollop of disinterred honey: / Ceylon, green dove: and the YangTse with its old / Old patience, dividing the day from the night." Here, love is adventurous, boundary-crossing, and universal, symbolized by the diverse geographical references. These places are described with vivid, unique characteristics: Armenia as a "dollop of disinterred honey," Ceylon as a "green dove," and the YangTse River, which cuts through China, as embodying "old / Old patience." Each location represents a distinct experience, contributing to the composite tapestry of the lovers' shared journey.

The return journey is articulated through elemental imagery: "And now, dearest, we return, across the crackling sea / Like two blind birds to their wall, / To their nest in a distant spring." The "crackling sea" suggests the lovers are traversing not just distance but also a texture of experiences that have brought them to this moment. They are likened to "two blind birds," a metaphor emphasizing their inseparability and instinctual pull towards their shared "nest"-their home, their starting point.

The closing lines subtly shift the focus from the ethereal to the practical: "Because love cannot always fly without resting, / Our lives return to the wall, to the rocks of the sea: / Our kisses head back home where they belong." These lines articulate the realization that love, despite its transcendent qualities, exists within the confines of earthly realities. Love needs to "rest"; it must come back to ground, to the tangibility of "the wall, to the rocks of the sea."

Ultimately, "One Hundred Love Sonnets: 33" stands as a poetic testament to the cyclical nature of love-its capacity for boundless exploration and its need for rootedness. It champions the idea that the most profound expressions of love can be discovered not just in extraordinary journeys but also in the mundane, day-to-day existence of a shared life. It's a homecoming, but one enriched by the vast terrains crossed, both literally and metaphorically.

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