Themes and Meanings (Masterplots II: Poetry, Revised Edition)
In Neruda’s earlier love poetry, Viente poemas de amor y una cancion desesperada (1924; Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, 1969), love is described as both a joyous and a perilous experience. There is often a shadow lurking in the background, an indefinable threat, a romantic foreboding. In the mature Neruda of One Hundred Love Sonnets, however, there is only one tone; it is pure joy, sensuality, union, ecstasy, and triumph that inspire these poems. Love, Neruda seems now to say, can be explored in all of its enchantment without the fear of suddenly losing it.
The major themes of “Sonnet XXVII” are love, passion, and eroticism—but, as previously mentioned, always linked with nature. Neruda’s relationship with nature is essentially sexual. Sex, for Neruda, is a way of entering the world, of conquering and being conquered by the world. It is a path to knowledge.
The poem is dominated by a purely erotic tone. Although it is the beloved’s body that is glorified in this poem, the speaker’s love transcends the body. He is unwavering in his devotion, and a sense of contentment and peace permeates the poem.
The speaker sees his beloved as part of two worlds: the world of night and the world of day. The woman is both day and night, as she is both round and slender (in the first stanza). The two colors used to describe the beloved’s body in the second stanza are blue (“blue as a night in...
(The entire section is 385 words.)
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