The poetic form of "Tonight I Can Write" by Pablo Neruda seems loosely based on the ghazal, an Arabic poetic form that combines a metrical pattern of couplets and a refrain with themes of loss and sorrow. Its distinguished Persian practitioners included Rumi and Hafiz; the form was popularized in western poetry by the German poet Goethe.
A poetic device that is part of the ghazal form is repetition. In the case of this poem, two poignant lines are repeated:
- Tonight I can write the saddest lines
- I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too
The repetition of these lines creates a tone of pathos and regret.
The next major poetic element is what is sometimes called the "pathetic fallacy" of using elements of the natural world as projections of the narrator's emotional state. The stars, dew, and wind are used as emblems of the narrator's internal feelings.
Another poetic element used in the poem is simile or explicit comparison. An example of a simile is found in the comparison of the poem to the dew in the line:
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.