Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 440
Lucila Godoy Alcayaga, who used the pseudonym Gabriela Mistral, penned these sonnets in a state of despair over the loss of her lover. At one time committed to her, he abandons her for another woman and intends to marry his mistress—until he commits suicide. These sonnets explore Alcayaga's emotional connections to her lover, which linger after his death.
For Alcayaga, love is forever. It sounds pretty cliche, perhaps, but it's a theme that is explored by many poets. In these sonnets, the narrator dreams of the life she had with her lover and wishes to be reunited with him in death—both physically ("I will lower you down to the humble, sunny earth / That I have to sleep there") and through their shared experience when life is over. She longs to talk to him, likely about his decision to leave her, which set this entire trajectory in motion: "I will wait until they have covered me completely . . . / and then we will speak for an eternity!" Death cannot separate these two permanently. Instead, she waits for death and for the opportunity to be with him again.
The Beauty of Nature
In "Sonnets of Death," nature provides eternal beauty. Her lover's remains are encased in an urn, resting in a "frozen niche." This cold image is contrasted with her dreams for him, to be with her in the "humble, sunny earth." This image provides warmth and peace by comparison. She also longs to spread "rose dust" over his remains. In the third sonnet, the narrator envisions the woman who took him as snatching him from a "snow of lilies." Lilies often symbolize humility and...
(The entire section contains 440 words.)
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