Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto, was born on 12 July, 1904, in the town of Parral in Chile. He is better known by his pen name Pablo Neruda. He was a Chilean poet and politician who lived between 1904 through 1973. Neruda not only created successful poems, he was also a successful politician taking on many roles in politics. Above being creative for poetry he was also extremely known in many parts of the world serving as leader for various countries. Also, after reading a few of his works, it occurred to me that his writing styles and themes changed.
His writing rages from historical epics and surrealist poems using his words as a way to verbally create art in literature. For this essay assignment I chose to write about and analyze “Alberto Rojas Jimenez Comes Flying”. After reading the poem in English, I was having difficulty following the poem because they were random phrases put together. After reading his original version in Spanish, the flow of the poem made more sense, even though it was still confusing to understand.
The biggest difference I was able to sense was the feeling or emotion of the poem. The way the poem sounded in Spanish made me believe that that it could be easily created into a song. Neruda was in pain because one of his friends drowned and he kind of references that in his poem: “With your celestial voice and wet shoes, you come flying” The first part of the phrase makes me believe Neruda truly listened to everything Alberto had to tell him.
Then the second part of that line along with the first line of stanza three: “Lower still, among submerged girl-children” Neruda is talking about losing his friend because he drowned. Not only was the emotion easier to understand when I read the poem in Spanish but I was also able to see and understand his use of imagery throughout his entire poem. After reading the poem a number of times, I was having difficulty understanding what Pablo Neruda was attempting to convey though each of his stanzas.
For example, in the third stanza: “Lower still, among submerged girl-children And blind plants and wounded fishes, Lower still, once more among clouds, You come flying” Even though I could pick pieces of the stanza to make sense, as a whole I was at a lost and unable to understand how a blind plant could help understand what a wounded fish could be. Then it occurred to me that this poem cannot be taken literally and if attempted to be taken literal nothing would come out of it. Thus, I decided to take the poem as a whole and understand what his poem in general meant and not by stanza or word for word
The first part that I decided to analyze was the ending of each stanza, “You come flying”. This line is repeated twenty-two times throughout the entire poem. The first question I asked myself was, “Who is Pablo Neruda talking about? ” and “Why is it repeated so many times? ” After doing some research I realized that Alberto Jimenez was a great friend of Pablo Neruda who unfortunately drowned. After realizing this piece of information, the poem began to make a bit more sense because I noticed that each stanza is representing death or dying.
For example in the first part of stanza two we see we can guess Neruda is talking about death in a sense: “Below tombs, below ashes, Below frozen snail, Below the deepest terrestrial waters, You come flying” Also, It is because of that ending phrase that this poem makes believe that this poem is talking about both the dead and a bird or a spirit that is flying through the air. After reading this poem and looking for any cues that may resemble a spirit, I noticed a few words throughout the entire poem that supported this idea.
I am not sure however, if this spirit is Neruda or it is his friend he is mourning for. Neruda uses the following words to describe the spirit moving or having a different point of view: between, under, beside, below, and over. For example, in the first stanza, look at the following lines: “Between fearful feathers, between the night, between the magnolias, between the telegrams, Between the sound winds and the sea winds of the west, You come flying” He is saying that this spirit was first off living with the people, between their world.
Then in the following stanza, “Below tombs, below ashes, Below frozen snails, Below the deepest terrestrial waters, You come flying” The spirit or Neruda is beginning a journey below the world he was living. Onto the third stanza where it says he continues to travel lower still leading onto the fourth stanza which made me think it was representing hell because the stanza says “ Farther than blood, farther the bones, farther than bread, farther than wine, Farther than fire, You come flying.
This entire section made me think of hell imagining an image of something going below the waters deeper and deeper into farthest fiery points of hell. Then in the later stanzas he is saying he is: “Above cities with submerged rooftops… ” “Over dentists and congregation…” and then lastly once again back with the living. I think that Neruda was taking this journey seeing everything from all the different perspectives in order to mourn over his lost friend and finally realize that he is gone.
It is not until the last few stanzas when we truly realize that Neruda is sad because he lost of his close friends. In the fourth to last stanza it says “There is rum, and you and I, and my soul that I weep in, And no one and nothing, except for a s staircase, With broken steps and umbrella, You come flying” This line specifically tells me that he is still mourning he decides to drink and he cannot walk up or down the stairs which he seems to view as being broken.
Then in the next line he is saying he is standing somewhere that he can see the sea and he hears his friend or he thinks he hears his friend coming from the see. Next in the following stanza he is once again referencing his friend by using the bird that he mentions in the beginning as way to describe his spirit. He says he can hear his friend but in reality, I think he wants to hear his friend when all he really hears is the wave of the waters as the thrash around.
Then in the last stanza he is saying “You come flying alone, solitary, Alone among corpses, forever alone, You come flying without a shadow, nameless, Without sugar, without a mouth, without rosebushes, you come flying. ” This is the last line of the poem and it still confuses me but the conclusion I came up with is he is still drunk from the rum and he sees his friend or see something but it does not have any characteristics of his friend but Neruda seems to know that it is him.
Neruda was in a hardship because of the loss of his friend and writing this poem, I believe was his way of saying goodbye even though he may not have wanted to. The repetition of the last line in each stanza, “you come flying” in my opinion adds emotion and meaning to each of the stanzas even though on their do not seem to make much of sense on an individual scale. Neruda was able to capture his emotion onto paper creating an art allowing other readers to feel the pain he was feeling as well.