Todo ha florecido en

Neruda, writing a poem whose title evokes springtime and the great 16th century poet, Quevedo, manages to be remarkably downbeat here. This is certainly not one of those uplifting springtime poems where the vitality and renewal of nature are uplifting for the human soul. Quite the opposite, in fact. It is the beauty of spring which reminds the poet of his inner melancholy and despair. Perhaps the reference to Quevedo in the title is a clue, as Quevedo’s later poems could be quite pessimistic. Is there any Quevedo poem specifically on this theme? I don’t know of one.

Pablo Neruda
Con Quevedo, en primavera

 
Todo ha florecido en
estos campos, manzanos,
azules titubeantes, malezas amarillas,
y entre la hierba verde viven las amapolas.
El cielo inextinguible, el aire nuevo
de cada día, el tácito fulgor,
regalo de una extensa primavera.
Sólo no hay primavera en mi recinto.
Enfermedades, besos desquiciados,
como yedras de iglesia se pegaron
a las ventanas negras de mi vida
y el sólo amor no basta, ni el salvaje
y extenso aroma de la primavera.

Y para ti qué son en este ahora
la luz desenfrenada, el desarrollo
floral de la evidencia, el canto verde
de las verdes hojas, la presencia
del cielo con su copa de frescura?
Primavera exterior, no me atormentes,
desatando en mis brazos vino y nieve,
corola y ramo roto de pesares,
dame por hoy el sueño de las hojas
nocturnas, la noche en que se encuentran
los muertos, los metales, las raíces,
y tantas primaveras extinguidas
que despiertan en cada primavera.

From <http://www.poemas-del-alma.com/con-quevedo.htm&gt;

For the first seven lines of the poem we are indeed in the world of the beauties of spring, the resurgence of natural vitality, the flowers, fruits, butterflies, the exhilaration of renewal, and all the joys of spring. But then, halfway through the first stanza, Neruda abruptly changes the mood – there is no spring in his living space, just sickness, loneliness and blackness.
the second stanza is evidently addressed to the poet’s loved one, asking what the joys of spring can mean to her. The poet is tormented by the external signs of spring, he yearns for night, darkness, death and the end of spring. The tension is between the external world and the poet’s internal state, disappointed in love, dominated by melancholy and dark thoughts.
This poem is the counterweight in many ways to Keats’ ” A Thing of Beauty”, posted here two days ago (May 25th). This is one for the glass half-empty brigade.

 
The Poetry Dude

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