Discuss the imagery in "Everyday You Play" by Pablo Neruda.

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carol-davis eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Imagery employed by a poet brings to the reader a sensory experience. Pablo Neruda’s “Every Day You Play” depends on his word images to explain the relationship that he describes.  Neruda was known for his great love affairs; in addition, he had three wives.  He never stayed too long in one place or with one person.

There are many images in the poem. We will pick out the main one in each stanza. The pictures that the poet paints describe an intense love affair:

1st stanza

The poet emphasizes the expression every day because he repeats it in the same stanza. Each day, he holds the head of his lover between his hands like a cluster of grapes. Apparently, he looks at the face of the woman he loves and holds her close to him.

2nd stanza

He wants to take his lover and lay her among yellow flowers that are strung like clusters. The poet sees her name written in smoke among the southern stars at night.

3rd stanza

A sudden storm comes up with the wind beating and banging against his window. The sky is compared to a net full of fish that are difficult to see.  The image of the rain taking off the clothes of the woman probably implies that the wet clothing reveals the body almost as much as taking off the clothes and probably is more sensual.

4th stanza

Neither the birds nor the poet can fight the wind.  The poet can fight other men.  When the storm blows, the dark leaves spin; and the wind breaks the boats free that were moored.

5th stanza

He asks the lover to hold tight to him. At one time, he saw a strange look [shadow] in her eyes.

6th stanza

The wind sadly kills the butterflies by tearing their wings off. He tells her that he loves her; because of his strong emotional tie to the lover, he compares her mouth to a plum that he would like to eat into.

7th stanza

Many times, the two of them have awakened to the morning sun shining [kissing] their eyes.  Over their heads, the ceiling fans give a light breeze.

8th stanza

His words pour [rained/reigned] over her, soothing [stroking] her.

He has loved her beautiful, white body for a long time. 

I go so far as to think that you own the universe.
I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells,
dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.
I want
to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.

The cherry trees bloom in the spring for about a week or two at the most.  Then, the blossoms are gone and give way to the buds that will become the luscious cherries. 

It is a lovely phrase which might be taken more than one way. The poet will leave her in the spring.  Like the blooms, he will go from her. Another interpretation might be that he will plant a seed in her in spring; then, she will blossom with the bud [baby].

The images add different nuances to this interesting and thought provoking love poem.