Saturday, May 24, 2008

Pablo Nerdua at his Angstiest

Dear Everyone:

We’ve traveled this far and I’ll bet some of you are thinking, “Hey, this doesn’t sound like poetry at all! Where’s the Teen Angst? Where are the weepy lines about lost love?” Well, don’t panic. Poetry is versatile; it can do that too.

Here’s all of that, but done well:

Saddest Poem
by Pablo Neruda

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.

Write, for instance: "The night is full of stars,
and the stars, blue, shiver in the distance."

[Rest of poem removed because it’s still in copyright but I'm sure you can find it on the Web.]

Good stuff. Note how the particular irony in the last couplet, that for him the saddest thing is that he’s finally getting over her, casts a revising (or re-visioning) light over all the poem before it. That’s what gives this poem legs (“legs” is a technical term meaning “staying power”); without it, you’d only have, “My girlfriend left me, and I am soooo bummed-out.” Neruda goes a little deeper than that. And every word of what he says is true.

All best,

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