"Losing could help one to learn the preciousness of life." Explain with reference to 'Tonight I Can Write' by Pablo Neruda.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In many ways, this is a poem that celebrates the mood of despondency and loss and values it as being integral to the human experience. In one sense, the poet's appreciation of the beauty of the night and the "night wind" that "sings" is only possible due to the way that nature seems to correspond with the mood of the poet. It is the experience of loss of his lover that allows the poet to learn important truths about himself that help him to understand the human condition better and to understand what it is to love and how that is such a profound experience that marks us for all our life. Note the way that the poem ends. Even though the poet admits that he does not love his former lover now, he acknowledges that he has been changed utterly as a result:

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.

Even though, in one sense, he is "over" her, he recognises that part of the preciousness of life are the uncontrollable yearnings of our soul, and it is these that define who we are and allow us to experience emotions that form part of the rich tapestry of life. This is a poem of loss, but in a sense, it is also a poem of celebration and what life is all about.


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