We Have Lost Even We have lost even this twilight. No one saw us this evening hand in hand while the blue night dropped on the world. I have seen from my window the fiesta of sunset in the distant mountain tops. Sometimes a piece of sun burned like a coin between my hands. I remembered you with my soul clenched in that sadness of mine that you know. Where were you then? Who else was there? Saying what? Why will the whole of love come on me suddenly when I am sad and feel you are far away? The book fell that is always turned to at twilight and my cape rolled like a hurt dog at my feet. Always, always you recede through the evenings towards where the twilight goes erasing statues.
Note: As always, read the poem for yourself and ponder what it means to you before reading my thoughts. Literature, especially poetry, can and should mean different things to different people.
You might notice that many of the love poems I choose are about loss. That’s probably because the only person I can say that I am positive I loved romantically died years ago.
For me, this poem catches the memories, but also alludes to the speaker’s understanding that it’s all subjective. Our memories, especially our memories of feelings, most likely bear little resemblance to what actually happened. Here, the poet also acknowledges that the loved one also had her (?) own reality and perhaps her experience is different.
Twilight is a time for assessment and reflection. It seems that nature or God, however you attribute these things, deliberately gives us the evening light show to make us slow down and take a moment, and certainly the darkness forces us to some response, even if it’s just to turn on a light (in our modern times).
In case you are wondering about the capitalization and punctuation in this poem, please know that we take care to reproduce all quotations exactly as they appear on the printed page. If you notice discrepancies between The Lois Level and other online poetry, that may the reason why.
When there is no end punctuation on a line of poetry, you are not meant to deliberately pause at the end of the line, but you should keep in mind that the poet wants the infinitesimal pause that will happen as your eyes track from one line to the next, which is why the line break is there. If there is no line break, the poet means for the words to enter your brain in a rush, both visually and mentally.
Here, Neruda mingles his complicated ideas about memory and twilight in somewhat long, flowing sentences written as couplets with short, hard stopped sentences, often punctuated interrogatively (as questions) to tell you to sort the ideas from the previous sentences. In the short sentences, he gives you words and phrases your conscious mind can grasp, while your unconscious mind mulls his more complicated ideas that may be impossible for your brain to verbalize (put into words).
Read This Poem in Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair
More about Pablo Neruda
Read about Pablo Neruda here.
Read Pablo Neruda’s poem, “I Remember You As You Were”, also from the above book, here.