“A Few Things Explained” is a lyric poem written in free verse in which the poet directly addresses the reader in an attempt both to explain why his poetry has become more sociopolitical and to denounce the Nationalist side of the Spanish Civil War.
The seventy-nine-line, twelve-stanza poem can be divided into four sections. The first section consists of the first two stanzas. In the first of these, the poet anticipates questions his reader might have concerning the rather sudden and radical change his poetry has undergone. “You will ask,” he writes, “And where are the lilacs?” The five-line stanza of questions is followed by a one-line stanza that introduces the poet’s answer to his reader, as he writes, “I’ll tell you how matters stand with me.”
The second section, consisting of four long stanzas, tells how things were when the poet lived for a time in Spain, on the outskirts of Madrid. He speaks of how his house was called “ ‘the house with the flowers,’” a happy house, he implies, frequented by small children, as well as some of Spain’s most famous poets, among them Federico García Lorca. He goes on to tell about his neighborhood and its teeming marketplace, characterized by “all the avid/ quintessence of living.” Virtually every image in this section suggests life, the day-to-day activities of living, happiness and plenitude.
This positive atmosphere is in sharp contrast with that presented...
(The entire section is 560 words.)